James H. Blanchard, retired chairman and CEO of Synovus, will present an executive lecture on leadership at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 10, in room 248 of the University of Georgia's Student Learning Center.
Blanchard's talk, which is free and open to the public, is titled "What's Really Important?!" It's sponsored by UGA's Terry College of Business and its Institute for Leadership Advancement.
A native of Columbus, Ga., Blanchard earned two degrees from UGA, a bachelor's degree in business in 1963 and a law degree in 1965. He served two years in the U.S. Army, and then returned to Columbus to join a law firm. In 1970, at the age of 28, he was selected as the top executive at Columbus Bank and Trust Co., a position previously held by his father, James W. Blanchard.
Blanchard rallied support for passage of Georgia's multi-bank holding company bill, which became law in 1976. Under his leadership, CB&T Bancshares (now Synovus) became the first bank holding company in Georgia to acquire other banks under the law. Blanchard retired as chairman of Synovus in 2006, following a 36-year career of building the company. He serves as an alumni member of the Terry College's Board of Overseers.
With Blanchard's strong encouragement, Synovus has operated under a decentralized, autonomous management approach for community banking, a management philosophy that continues today. He also played an instrumental role in establishing Total System Services Inc. (TSYS) in 1983, which provides electronic payment processing for more than 416 million cardholder accounts worldwide and is more than 80 percent owned by Synovus.
In 1999, Synovus was selected No. 1 on the list of "The 100 Best Companies to Work for" in America by FORTUNE magazine, and has been recognized in the magazine's hall of fame for consecutive appearances on the list since its inception in 1998. In 2005, Synovus was also named as one of "America's Most Admired Companies."
The Terry Leadership Speaker Series brings well-known leaders from a variety of organizations to the Terry College of Business and the University of Georgia. In these student-oriented forums, guest speakers discuss their leadership styles and experiences.
The Institute for Leadership Advancement was established in 2000 as a multidisciplinary academic unit of the Terry College charged with developing leaders who enhance the performance of their organizations and communities. Through assessment, instruction and opportunities for experiential learning, leadership behaviors are studied, practiced and developed. Offering programs designed for undergraduates, graduate students, executives and business organizations, ILA is one of the most comprehensive leadership development institutes operating within a university setting anywhere in the country.