|Our Management Team boasts a collective 143 years in the banking industry! They are local professionals with a commitment to providing the highest quality client experience.
Shaun P. Merriman
President and CEO
A 27-year banking veteran, Shaun began organizing Gateway Bank in November, 2006, during the most adverse banking climate seen in Southwest Florida in decades. He authored a convincing business plan, managed a $19.5 million capital raise, and assembled a notable board of directors and talented banking staff. Shaun then took the aggressive approach to open three banking centers within the first 12 months of operation, which is virtually unheard of. Under Shaun’s leadership, Gateway Bank has grown to over $210 million in total assets, reaching sustained profitability in just 31 months of operation. By comparison, most start-up banks do not reach profitability until their third or fourth year of operation. Prior to organizing Gateway Bank, Shaun served as Southwest Florida’s Area Executive for AmSouth Bank in Sarasota. He oversaw 45 banking centers in Manatee, Sarasota, Charlotte, Lee, and Collier counties. Over two-thirds of Shaun’s career was spent with SouthTrust Corporation. He held several senior leadership positions including Executive Vice President and Senior Lender as well as President and CEO of SouthTrust’s Suncoast Market in Sarasota, Florida and banking operations in Houston, Texas. Shaun is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin with a major in Finance and a minor in Accounting. He is also a graduate of the Wisconsin School of Commercial Banking and The Center for Creative Leadership in Greensboro, North Carolina. He is active in the Sarasota community currently serving as the immediate past chair for Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce, trustee board member for Doctors Hospital, board member and Corporate Secretary for Team Tony Cancer Foundation, and past Chairman for the United Way of Sarasota County. Shaun is a recipient of the 2009 (Bronze), 2010 (Silver), and 2011 (Silver) President’s Volunteer Service Awards, a national award recognizing his community service in the Sarasota community.
Richard A. Hicks
Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operations Officer
Richard joined Gateway Bank in November, 2007, as Chief Financial Officer and later also became Chief Operations Officer. He has 26 years of banking experience, specializing in overall financial responsibility as the Chief Financial Officer for several denovo banks. Richard was instrumental in opening Gateway Bank of Southwest Florida, and has helped our organization reach profitability before projected plan. Prior to joining Gateway, Richard was involved in opening a national bank in Lake Mary, Florida. Richard’s previous experience includes a correspondent bank and a denovo bank in Central Florida with four offices. He was also an Examiner for the Florida Comptroller’s Office (now known as the Office of Financial Regulation) for 10 years. Richard has an MBA from Crummer Graduate School of Business, Rollins College, in Winter Park, Florida, and an undergraduate degree in Economics from University of Florida. He also attended LSU Graduate School of Banking in Louisiana, and Florida School of Banking at the University of Florida. Richard is currently involved in Leadership Sarasota County, Toastmasters, and Scouting. His other interests include Florida Bankers’ Association, Leadership Division.
Senior Vice President and Human Resources and Marketing Director
Cherie has 26 years of Human Resources experience - the last 16 years have been in the banking industry. Cherie joined Gateway Bank in June, 2007, and provides Human Resources direction for all three markets of Gateway Financial Holdings of Florida, Inc. Her office is located in Sarasota, and she has recruited a talented employee base from four to now forty individuals in the Southwest Florida location. Her expertise spans all areas of human resources including technology, benefit development, policy development, recruiting, training and development, employee relations and compensation. She is involved in Gateway Bank of Southwest Florida’s strategic planning as a member of the executive management team. Cherie is a graduate of University of South Florida, with a master’s degree in Business Administration. She has obtained Senior Professional Human Resources certification, and is a member of the local Sarasota-Manatee chapter of Society for Human Resources Management. Cherie is also a chairperson of Florida Bankers’ Association’s Human Resources Committee, and a member of United Way of the Suncoast’s Allocations Committee.
Senior Vice President and Private | Wealth Manager
Rick has 36 years of banking experience and is a licensed Financial Advisor for Raymond James Financial Services, Inc. Rick joined Gateway Bank in May, 2007, and is qualified to assist his clients with all facets of banking including commercial and personal lending, depository services, treasury management services and investment management. Rick leads a seasoned Private | Wealth team and is the primary relationship manager for his clients. With extensive experience in the financial services industry, Rick brings a holistic approach to financial management. Rick is keenly aware of how each client’s needs are different and how important it is to coordinate the financial, insurance, retirement planning, tax and estate planning areas of a client’s life. Rick is a graduate of Carroll College in Waukesha, Wisconsin with a BS in Business Administration, majoring in Finance. He holds Series 7, 63 and 66 licenses, as well as Life, Health and Annuities. He has been involved with American Heart Association, the Sertoma Club of Greater Sarasota, and is a former writer for the monthly business column for Living Out East Magazine. In 2009, Rick received the President’s Volunteer Service Award (Bronze), a national award recognizing over 100 hours of community service in one year. Rick is currently a member of the Lakewood Ranch Emergency Response Team.
Senior Vice President and Senior Loan Officer
Dennis Murphy has been in banking in the Sarasota/Manatee market for 10 years, and he joined Gateway Bank in January, 2008. Dennis leads the bank’s credit administration and commercial lending division as Group Vice President and Commercial Banking Manager. In addition, he oversees the bank’s consumer lending department. Dennis and his commercial lending group work diligently to provide each client with quick response times during the loan process, as underwriting is done in-house and decisions are made at a local level. Dennis’ excellent credit and lending skills, combined with his commitment to provide best in class customer service, have enabled him to develop relationships and become referral partners with some of our regions’ esteemed community leaders. Dennis has supported our local community through committee roles with the Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce, including his current participation on the Finance Committee. He serves as board member and Treasurer for First Tee of Sarasota/Manatee. He is also an active participant of the Commercial Investment Division (“CID”) of the Sarasota Association of Realtors, as well as other industry related networking groups. In 2011, Dennis received the President’s Volunteer Service Award (Bronze), a national award recognizing over 100 hours of community service in one year. He attained a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Florida (Finance/Economics) in 2002 and a Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.) from the University of South Florida in 2003. Dennis is also a 2009 graduate of Leadership Sarasota County.
Cindy S. Denison
Group Vice President and Consumer Banking Manager
Cindy Denison has 29 years of retail banking experience, and she joined Gateway Bank in April, 2008, to lead our Retail Banking Team. She is the Banking Center Manager for our Manatee Avenue office, and oversees the South Trail and University Parkway locations as well. Cindy excels in building client relationships and ensuring operational safety and compliance. A born leader, Cindy has been in a managerial role her entire career. Prior to joining Gateway, she managed a deposit base of $150 million and supervised an office staff of 10. She is the leader of Gateway Bank’s Quality Service Council, and past leader of the Product Development Committee. Cindy earned an Associate of Arts degree in Business Administration at State College of Florida. A lifelong Bradenton resident, Cindy is actively involved in the community as a board member / secretary (since 1999) for Just For Girls, Inc. Foundation in Bradenton. She is Secretary for the Financial Institutions Security Officer Association for Sarasota/Manatee, and is a member of the Florida Bankers Association BankPAC. Cindy also serves as corporate board member and allocations committee member (since 2007) for the United Way of Manatee County.