First Farmers and Merchants Bank Names New Human Resources Leader

COLUMBIA, Tenn. – First Farmers and Merchants Bank today announced the retirement of John Cotham, long-time director of human resources, and the selection of veteran banker and First Farmer’s controller, Robert Matthews, to fill the HR position.  The move was effective December 31, 2013 upon Cotham’s retirement.

“John Cotham has been a true asset to First Farmers & Merchants Bank over his 34 years at the bank,” said T. Randy Stevens, chairman and CEO, in making the announcement.  “We regret seeing him leave for a well-earned retirement, but know that Bob Matthews will do a fine job filling John’s shoes.”

Cotham joined First Farmers in 1979 as a management trainee.  Over his tenure, he served as an assistant branch manager and branch manager at various offices of the bank, was director of the bank’s ATM program, and held several loan and compliance officer positions. In 2002, Cotham was named director of human resources.

A 1974 graduate of Rhodes College, Cotham has been active in the Maury County community, including serving with the Maury County Cancer Crusade, the Maury County chapters of the March of Dimes and the American Red Cross, the American Youth Soccer Organization, Boy Scout Troop #109, The Tennessee Vocational Rehabilitation Training Center and Leadership Maury.

Likewise, Matthews joined First Farmers as a management trainee in 1988 upon his graduation from The University of Tennessee at Martin with a BS in Economics-Finance.  He has served as a commercial bank officer, held both assistant vice president and vice president positions with the Lawrenceburg and Crockett branch offices and also been a senior banking executive. In 2007, he was named controller for the bank. He is also a graduate of the School of Banking at LSU and the Tennessee School of Banking at Vanderbilt, the Southeastern School of Advanced Commercial Lending, and the University of South Carolina Graduate School of Bank Investments and Financial Management.

Matthews is a past president of the Lawrenceburg Evening Lions Club, past member of the Lawrenceburg Rotary Club and a past board member of the Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce.  He is also a graduate of Leadership Lawrence County and attends First Baptist Church, Lawrenceburg.

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