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Southern Baptist Foundation names Michael W. Weeks as president

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–Michael W. Weeks of Tupelo, Miss., has been unanimously elected as president of the Southern Baptist Foundation, William K. “Bill” Hall, vice chairman of the foundation’s board of trustees and chairman of the presidential search committee, announced March 7.

Hall announced from his San Clemente, Calif., office that Weeks will replace Hollis E. Johnson III, who is retiring effective June 30.

Since 1998, Weeks has been vice chairman of BancorpSouth Bank and executive vice president of BancorpSouth Inc., the bank’s holding company. He also has been executive vice president of BancorpSouth Trust and Asset Management Group.

He is a graduate of Delta State University in Cleveland, Miss., and an active member of First Baptist Church, Tupelo, where he serves as a deacon and teaches Sunday School.

His duties with BancorpSouth have included strategic planning for the entire company and providing leadership in investor relations management.

From 1995-98, Weeks was chairman of the board and chief executive officer of Volunteer Bank, a wholly owned subsidiary of BancorpSouth. He developed and executed a restructuring plan and implemented an aggressive acquisitions program which significantly improved the profitability of Volunteer Bank, growing bank assets to approximately $1 billion.

From 1970-94, he was a partner in KPMG Corporation of Memphis, Tenn., and Jackson, Miss., specializing in services to financial companies, including banks, thrifts, mortgage banks and insurance companies.

Hall said of Weeks’ selection, “In order to locate and select the very best possible leader for the SBF, the search committee engaged the services of the top executive search firm in the nation specializing in discovering and recommending executives for religious and nonprofit organizations. We are grateful to the Lord that we have found the extraordinary leader we sought. Mike Weeks brings to the SBF a unique set of financial skills which were honed during a career in accounting and senior executive positions in the banking industry.

“To top it off, he has proven himself as an active and committed Baptist layman,” Hall said. “I am very excited that we have identified a man willing to move from success in business to an opportunity for significance by serving the Lord at the foundation. He will be building on a base of a finely tuned organization developed by Hollis Johnson.”

In addition to Hall, members of the presidential search committee were Jerry L. Vaughan of Edmond, Okla., and Morris H. Chapman of Nashville, Tenn.

Chapman, chairman of the Southern Baptist Foundation board of trustees, said of Weeks’ selection, “In the coming of Mike Weeks, God answered our prayers ‘exceeding abundantly above all’ we knew to ask or think. He is eminently qualified, having been in the financial services and banking industry for over 30 years. He and his wife, Trish, have served the Lord faithfully at the West Jackson Baptist Church of Jackson, Tenn., and the Bellevue Baptist Church of Cordova, Tenn. They are presently members of the First Baptist Church of Tupelo, Miss., and are deeply involved there.

“Our initial contact with Mike Weeks, I believe, was nothing less than providential. Mike was serving on the pastor search committee at the First Baptist Church, Tupelo, when I received a call from him, at the urging of Jerry Tidwell, his former pastor, to ask if I knew of any pastors to suggest for their committee to consider. Several weeks after that conversation, the Lord brought his name to mind, and I thought, ‘Why haven’t I asked if he would be open to be interviewed for this position?’ I called Jerry Tidwell and asked if he would speak to Mike about the matter. What I didn’t know was that in the preceding months Mike had had the growing conviction God was leading him to prepare for a new direction into vocational ministry. When I learned this from Jerry, I sent his name and resume to Bill Hall and the search firm. I praise the Lord that the phone call from a member of a pastor search committee led us to God’s man for this very critical position in Southern Baptist life.

“Mike and Trish Weeks are both devout Christians. They love Christ and his church,” Chapman said. “Obviously, Mike has been highly successful in his profession. I am genuinely excited about all the Christian qualities and professional qualifications he will bring to the office of Southern Baptist Foundation president. God has gifted him in every way to lead the foundation into the next era of ministry and growth. In the brief time I have known him, I have grown to love him as a brother in Christ and admire him as a man who has outstanding relational skills. He is a man of impeccable integrity and it will be a privilege to introduce him to the Southern Baptist family throughout the country. The entire trustee board is especially grateful for the time and energies Bill Hall and Jerry Vaughn set aside for this search. God has greatly honored their efforts.”

Of the retiring SBF president, Chapman said, “Hollis Johnson has built a very trustworthy institution over the past 25 years. Our board will have opportunity to express our deep and profound gratitude to him prior to the effective date of his retirement on the last day of June.”

The Southern Baptist Foundation is the trust agency of the Southern Baptist Convention established to provide dependable and prudent investment service to the entities of the SBC. The foundation also affords a wide range of investment and estate planning services for individuals interested in fulfilling their stewardship commitments and who wish to provide perpetual support for denominational causes through outright gifts or trust, will, deed or gift annuities. The foundation currently has more than $227 million in assets under management.

In addition to the members of the search committee, SBF board members include John G. Blackman Jr. of Nashville, Tenn., William C. Lovell Jr. of Brentwood, Tenn., Herbert T. Thomas of Tuscaloosa, Ala., and Hollie S. Miller of Knoxville, Tenn.
(BP) photo posted in the BP Photo Library at http://www.bpnews.net. Photo title: MICHAEL W. WEEKS.

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