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Business Observer Thursday, Feb. 27, 2020 2 years ago

Banker shifts from business to academia, being named business school dean

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Banker Todd Katz shifts from the business world to academia.

Colleges often talk about providing real-world experiences for students. Hodges University, with campuses in Naples and Fort Myers, is doing that for real with Todd Katz, its new business school dean.

Katz, who has started and sold two banks in the region, was named dean of the Johnson School of Business at Hodges earlier this year. He will oversee degrees and programs in the school, in addition to creating new degrees and programs that help fulfill the workforce needs of organizations and corporations, according to a statement.

“Katz brings extraordinary, real-world experience that will take our business school to a new level of excellence,” says John Meyer, President of Hodges University, in the statement. “His expertise and enthusiasm will ultimately benefit the students we serve.”

Katz has both an undergraduate degree and a law degree from the University of Florida. Soon after law school, he worked in the legal department of a bank in Naples. In writing proxy statements and other work there, he got the entrepreneurial itch to open a bank on his own.

Along with business partner Lew Albert, Katz did that, first with Tarpon Coast National Bank. Launched in 1998 in Charlotte County, Tarpon started slow. (Katz, in the Business Observer’s Top Entrepreneur issue in May 2018, recalled the bank’s humble beginnings, when he sold bank stock business-to-business out of the trunk of Albert’s Cadillac in Port Charlotte.) Tarpon ultimately raised $11 million, and then Katz led the growth, to four offices and $160 million in assets. Urbana, Ill.-based First Busey Bank bought Tarpon Coast for $35.6 million in 2005, netting shareholders a 17% annualized return.

Katz then led the formation, and later sale, of Charlotte County-based Calusa Bank. Dunedin-based Achieva, in what was considered the first sale of a bank to a credit union nationwide, acquired Calusa in 2015 for $23.2 million, 1.36 times book value.  

Founded in 1990, Hodges has more than 10,000 graduates.

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