First Horizon sold its mortgage division in 2008 to focus on personal and business banking, and brought in Bruce Livesay as its first CIO the same year. The new role came with CEO support toward a monumental task: modernizing banking systems that were static for nearly a decade as First Horizon’s parent company had focused on the now-departed mortgage business.

Livesay assembled legacy and new application leaders and led IT to a more business-minded and interactive role with executives. Since then, First Horizon went on an aggressive, three-year roadmap to upgrade or replace every core application and hardware at the branches, a Web banking platform for customers and for account reps.

First Horizon tripled its data storage capabilities and cut costs 30 percent annually with a new captive data center. Widespread end-user adoption of a data warehousing initiative led to development of a tool called Bonefish, which pulls key metrics from earnings reports for management. Livesay has been able to piggyback other modernization efforts, like being the first bank in its region to offer mobile banking and deposits.

With so much change to systems over the last few years, Livesay says it has been elemental to manage the impact of enterprise-wide overhauls for employees as well as customers.

“When you’re dealing with an upgrade, a crucial thing is to make sure it’s received, people are using it and they understand why,” says Livesay. “When you have something this massive going on, you also need to be conscious of the calendar for conflicting projects and plans.”

Quotable:  “Every day you run into something new that you’d want to add to the list of good leadership. At a high level, culture is very important. Essentially, it’s the behaviors and actions of the leader that are copied by the people working below them. It’s very important, especially at that point where you’re leading large groups of people on large projects, to be conscious that your behaviors and the things that you do are going to be reflected by your team.”

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