James H. Blanchard served as chief executive officer of Synovus, a financial services company based in Columbus, Ga., from 1971 to 2005. During his 35 years as CEO, Blanchard placed tremendous emphasis on leadership education at the company, particularly on servant leadership.
One of Blanchard's career highlights was to rally support for the multi-bank holding company bill, which was passed by the Georgia legislature in 1976. Under his guidance, Columbus Bank and Trust and CB&T Bancshares, later to be named Synovus Financial Corp., became the first bank holding company in Georgia to acquire Georgia banks under the new law. In 1999, Synovus was selected by Fortune Magazine as the “#1 Best Company to Work for in America.”
Blanchard also played an instrumental role in establishing Total System Services, Inc. (TSYS) in 1983, which now provides electronic payment processing services for hundreds of millions of consumers worldwide.
In 2011, he partnered with The Jordan Company to create JBA Capital, LLC, and currently serves as chairman of their Board of Advisors.
Blanchard earned a bachelor's degree in Business Administration from the University of Georgia in 1963 and a law degree from the University of Georgia in 1965. He served for two years as a first lieutenant and finance officer in the U.S. Army
In 2016, Blanchard received the Ken Blanchard Servant Leadership Award from the Foundation for Servant Leadership. He was inducted as a Georgia Trustee by the Office of the Governor and the Georgia Historical Society and into the Chattahoochee Valley Sports Hall of Fame.
He is a past recipient of the University of Georgia’s Alumni Merit Award for distinguished and loyal service; the Sue Marie and Bill Turner Servant Leadership Award; The Lead Like Jesus Divine Servant Leadership Award; and the Technology Association of Georgia’s FinTech Lifetime Achievement Award. He was named as one of Georgia Trend’s “Most Influential Georgians Hall of Fame” in 2006; one of U.S. Banker magazine’s "25 Most Influential People in Financial Services” in 2005; and was selected as Georgia Trend’s “Georgian of the Year” in 2003 and “Most Respected CEO” in 1997.
Currently, he serves as chairman of the Global Teen Challenge Advisory Board; member of Chick-fil-A’s Board of Directors, the University of Georgia’s Building Terry Campaign Cabinet, and the Lead Like Jesus National Advisory Board; ex-officio member of the Georgia Historical Society Board of Curators; and trustee of the Columbus State University Foundation.
Blanchard is married to Frances “Sis” Sterne and they have three children, Jimmy, Billy and David, and eight grandchildren.