At the helm of a third-generation financial institution with over $49 billion in assets, Frank Holding Jr. leads one of the largest family-controlled banks in the nation. He currently serves as the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the North Carolina-based First Citizens Bank and parent company First Citizens BankShares. Previously, Holding Jr. served as president of First Citizens, after having held senior management
positions with the bank in numerous North Carolina cities, including Charlotte, Raleigh, Wilmington, Swansboro, and Fayetteville.
Holding Jr., 61, is part of a North Carolina banking dynasty that stretches back to the early 20th century when his grandfather first started working for what was then called the Bank of Smithfield, which served farmers in Johnston County, North Carolina. In 1935 Holding Jr.'s grandfather, who was considered a financial wizard, became president of the bank, which by then had changed its name to First Citizens Bank & Trust Company.
Since then, leadership of the bank has remained in the Holding family. When the patriarch died in 1957, his son Lewis Holding rose to CEO and held the position for the next 50 years. During this time, Holding Jr. (grandson and nephew to Lewis) graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and earned an MBA from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School. After completing his education, Holding Jr. joined the family business and has since spent his entire professional career at the bank. In 1994 he was appointed president and later took over the CEO role from his uncle Lewis in 2008.
Today, Holding Jr. and his four sisters collectively own about 20% of the bank's stock and have nearly 50% of the voting power.
The Holding family’s influence in North Carolina extends beyond banking. In addition to his CEO duties, Holding Jr. currently serves as the Chairman of the Board for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina, the state’s largest health insurer. He is also a member of the Board of Directors for both the Mount Olive Pickle Company, the largest independent pickle company in the U.S. With deep familial ties to Wake Forest University, he has also served the institution as a trustee since 2012. In the past, Holding Jr. was chairman for the North Carolina Chamber of Commerce.