Gerald J. Ford Chairman Hilltop Holdings

Gerald J. Ford



Mr. Ford is a banking and financial institutions entrepreneur who has been involved in numerous mergers and acquisitions of private and public sector financial institutions, primarily in the Southwestern United States, over the past 40 years.

Current Role

Mr. Ford is the Chairman of the Board of Hilltop Holdings Inc., a position he has held since 2007, as well as the largest shareholder. Mr. Ford joined Hilltop in 2005 as a director. He also served as interim Chief Executive Officer of Hilltop from January 1, 2010 until March 11, 2010.

Career Highlights

Gerald J. Ford is one of the nation’s most accomplished financial services executives. He has acquired, managed and operated banking businesses and other financial services companies for over 40 years.

In 1975, Mr. Ford purchased a controlling interest in his first bank, First National Bank of Post, Texas with $25 million in total assets. Over the next 18 years, Mr. Ford acquired more than 30 commercial banks through Ford Bank Group, Inc., in West Texas, and United New Mexico Financial Corp. based in Albuquerque, ultimately forming First United Bank Group, Inc. as a public multi-bank holding company with approximately $4.0 billion in total assets. In 1994, Norwest Corporation (now Wells Fargo & Co.) acquired First United Bank Group.

In 1988, Mr. Ford partnered with MacAndrews & Forbes Holdings, Inc. to form First Gibraltar Bank, FSB . First Gibraltar acquired all the assets and certain liabilities of five insolvent thrifts from the Federal Savings and Loan Insurance Corporation. During the early 1990’s, First Gibraltar acquired three additional thrifts and a mortgage banking operation from the Resolution Trust Corporation.  While Mr. Ford served as the Chairman and CEO, First Gibraltar became the largest thrift and fourth largest financial institution in Texas and Oklahoma. During 1992 and 1993, First Gibraltar performed an orderly sale of assets, deposits, branches, and its mortgage company to various acquirers, including Bank of America and Chase Manhattan Bank. Following these sales, First Gibraltar retained approximately $1 billion in assets and subsequently acquired First Nationwide Bankin 1994.

From 1994 to 1998, Mr. Ford, as Chairman and CEO, led the expansion of the First Nationwide Bank platform by acquiring various federal savings banks in California, as well as additional branches, mortgage servicing portfolios, and auto finance companies. In 1998, Golden State Bancorp was created in connection with the Glendale Federal Bank acquisition.  Mr. Ford was Chairman of the Board and CEO of Golden State Bancorp from 1998 until it was sold to Citigroup in November 2002. At the time of the Citigroup transaction, Golden State Bancorp was the third largest thrift in the United States with over 350 branches in California and Nevada with over $55 billion in total assets.

Mr. Ford was the Managing Member of, and the principal investor in, Ford Financial Fund, L.P., a private equity firm that owned a controlling interest in Pacific Capital Bancorp, for which he also served as Chairman until its sale.  On December 1, 2012, Pacific Capital Bancorp was sold in an all cash transaction to UnionBanCal Corporation, a member of the Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group. 

Board Participation

Mr. Ford serves as Non-Executive Chairman of Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc., a director of Mechanics Bank, and Chairman of Hilltop Holdings Inc.

Mr. Ford previously served as Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Southern Methodist University (“S.M.U.”) and currently serves as a trustee.  As well, he is on the Executive Board of Dedman School of Law at S.M.U., a trustee of Southwestern Medical Foundation and Children’s Medical Foundation, and a former member of the Board of Directors of Scientific Games and a Board of Overseers of Weill Medical College and Graduate School of Medical Sciences of Cornell University.


B.A. in Economics from Southern Methodist University
J.D., Southern Methodist University School of Law