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Head of Corporate Banking
Ask Ward Cheatham about his longtime career at Regions Bank, and he’s likely to suggest you hold that thought — because first he wants to talk about the strong connection between Regions and Auburn University, particularly Harbert graduates.
Cheatham says he’s not just a proud Harbert alumnus. He’s also closely involved with Auburn’s Financial Management Association, an honorary network for top-tier Auburn students pursuing finance careers led by Tracy Richard, director of Harbert’s Integrated Financial Leadership Program.
“At Regions, we are focused on building the best team, so we recruit associates from a lot of colleges and universities throughout the Southeast and beyond. In my experience, we have some of the best outcomes and retention with students from Auburn,” he said. “We get great students and Tracy does a fantastic job helping students find career opportunities that align with their skills and their personal career goals.”
As head of corporate banking, Cheatham leads business interactions with the bank’s largest clients across the Southeast, Midwest and Texas.
He also heads Regions Specialized Industries, which has a national reach with specific sector coverage including healthcare, technology and defense, energy and natural resources, transportation, financial services, Regions Equipment Finance Corp. and the most recent addition, a new markets tax credit practice. That means regularly interacting with sector leaders in Charlotte, Nashville, Atlanta, Dallas, Orlando and Washington, D.C.
He said teamwork is at the heart of his approach to leadership, supported by clear communication, strong data and analytics, and “effective challenge” to help colleagues arrive at the best solutions.
His advice to students pursuing a similar leadership position?
“There is no substitute for hard work.”
Beyond that, “Be a great teammate, and that means knowing your role, and be accountable to the same. Give credit to others and have an enterprise mindset. As you get to be an executive in a firm, that means on behalf of the top of the company, you understand how your units fit within the broader corporate strategy, and in these fast-changing times, quickly adjust your tactics as needed.”
Cheatham’s parents are Auburn alums, as are his wife, Nancy, and their three children. They attend Auburn basketball and football games as often as they can and enjoy their free time at Lake Martin. After all, work-life balance is part of success.