First Horizon National Corp. president and CEO Bryan Jordan opened his remarks to shareholders at the Memphis company’s annual meeting Tuesday with what most listeners probably would say was an understatement.
“What an interesting year it’s been,” he said.
Jordan went on to acknowledge the bumpy economy had left the bank holding company with a $192 million net loss at the end of 2008. The company’s loss at the end of the first quarter was $82.8 million after paying out almost $15 million in preferred stock dividends.
Also as part of the unusual series of events in 2008, the company began a major wind-down of its national business and accepted an $866 million infusion of federal capital through the Troubled Asset Relief Program.
But Jordan also pointed to a strategic repositioning of the bank’s mission and operations as reasons to be optimistic about the future. First Horizon, the banking arm of which turned 145 years old this year, saw core deposits up about 4 percent in the first quarter compared to the previous quarter.
The company boasts strong capital and liquidity positions, with a Tier 1 capital ratio of 15 percent and tangible common equity to tangible assets at 7.1 percent. And Jordan said the company’s capital markets operation saw a second consecutive quarter of record earnings, with fixed-income revenues of $197 million in the first quarter compared to $156.5 million in the previous quarter.
“History supports a hopeful attitude,” Jordan said. “Our country will bounce back from this downturn. Our company also has a legacy of endurance and success.”
Actions taken by shareholders at the meeting include:
- Appointing KPMG LLP as First Horizon’s auditor for 2009.
- Electing five directors to serve until the 2010 annual meeting of shareholders or until their successors are elected: Mark Emkes, Bryan Jordan, Brad Martin, William Sansom and Vicki Palmer.
- Approving an advisory proposal on executive compensation.
The advisory proposal is an outgrowth of the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act, amended by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, requiring any participant in the TARP program to include a non-binding shareholder vote on executive compensation.
Commonly referred to as a “say on pay” proposal, it gives shareholders a chance to endorse or speak out against the company’s executive pay program.
The First Horizon board of directors also approved Mike Rose's move from executive chairman of the board to non-executive chairman, a move that means a shifting for Rose away from an active, hands-on management role.
Rose became executive chairman more than two years ago as Jerry Baker became First Horizon's CEO. Baker was replaced in September by Jordan.
"The board and I agreed that I would serve in an executive role during what we realized would be a time of significant change for this company," Rose said in a statement. "And now the board and I agree that it's time for me to move to a non-executive role and focus my energy on the work of the board while leaving the management of the company to the strong CEO and leadership team that's in place today."...