Bank of Tennessee promotes next generation of leadership

Bank of Tennessee has promoted Will Barrett to the position of CEO and Detra Cleven to the role of Chief Operating Officer.

Bank of Tennessee has announced the appointment of two rising stars in its organization. Will Barrett, President, has been named the new Chief Executive Officer of Bank of Tennessee and its divisions Carter County Bank and Mountain Community Bank. Detra Cleven will serve the financial organization as Chief Operating Officer.

William B. Greene Jr., Chairman of BancTenn Corp, and the Board of Directors of Bank of Tennessee, said, “It’s our strategy to recruit the best people and prepare them for success.” 

Barrett will succeed Dale Fair, who retires after more than doubling the size of the bank during his tenure.

“Our philosophy is to recruit and groom future leaders for success instead of hiring people outside the market. In this way, we grow leaders who understand and know the people of the communities we serve to better meet the challenges that our customers face. This creates a culture at Bank of Tennessee that no other financial institution in Tennessee has,” said Greene.

A good example is the bank’s regional impact by providing PPP loans in 2020, which were vital to the local economy. “With the hard work by our experienced team, we were able to provide $100,000,000 in PPP loans to nearly 1,000 businesses. That helped sustain about 14,000 jobs here,” said Barrett.

Will Barrett, a native of Kingsport, graduated from Dobyns-Bennett High School and attended Wake Forest University earning a BA in Economics and Religion and then an MBA at the university. He is also a graduate of the LSU Graduate School of Banking. 

Barrett’s career with Bank of Tennessee spans 25 years, where he served in various roles, including retail banking, credit, lending, operations, Northeast Tennessee President, and most recently COO. His industry knowledge, strategic drive, and “people first” mentality made Barrett the natural choice to direct and oversee the bank’s overall strategic direction and goals, along with the entire management team. Barrett and his wife have one daughter and live in Johnson City.

The key to the success of the PPP loan program was the bank’s operations department, led by Barrett as COO, who created an efficient and streamlined loan process that enabled the bank’s loans to be approved quicker than other financial institutions in the area. With Barrett’s promotion to CEO and President, the bank selected Cleven to succeed Barrett in the role of COO.

Cleven said, “Bank of Tennessee is a wonderful place to bank and to work. Ensuring that our employees have the resources they need, our processes are efficient and accurate, and our banking products are reliable and secure are my priorities. I am excited to continue making a positive impact in the lives of our employees, our customers, and our communities.”

Cleven began her tenure at Bank of Tennessee in 2011. She was born and raised in Minnesota, where she attended Saint Olaf College, where she was later inducted into the Sports Hall of Fame in 2014 as a competitive swimmer. Her banking career started in 1993, and in 2019, she graduated with the highest honors from LSU Graduate School of Banking. Her role as COO is to oversee all operational aspects of the company. Cleven and her husband live in Kingsport and have twins in college.

Fair will continue to serve as the bank’s Chairman of the Board for Bank of Tennessee. 

“The entire management team is fantastic and will continue making the necessary changes to maintain the existing goals and objectives of Bank of Tennessee and its affiliates. It has been a true privilege to work for and with Mr. Bill Greene and the Board of Directors. I hope to continue assisting Mr. Greene and the Board in directing the future success of our great institution,” said Fair.

“Dale has been a tremendous CEO and coach taking Bank of Tennessee’s performance and customer-focused culture to new heights,” said Barrett.


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