Flynn named president of First Business Bank-Milwaukee

Vetta becomes chairman

Vetta and Flynn.

Mike Flynn has been hired to serve as president of Brookfield-based First Business Bank-Milwaukee.

Vetta and Flynn.
Vetta and Flynn.

Flynn, 51, replaces Dave Vetta, 63, who will move into the role of chairman of the board for First Business Bank-Milwaukee. Vetta will retain the chief executive officer role.

The bank’s Madison-based parent company, First Business Financial Services Inc., guided the leadership transition last week. In January, First Business Financial consolidated the charters of its three subsidiary banks, First Business Bank-Milwaukee, Madison-based First Business Bank, and Leawood, Kansas-based Alterra Bank. But the company said then the existing management structure would remain unchanged and no personnel changes would be made in connection with the consolidation.

That has not changed, Vetta said. This move is part of First Business Bank-Milwaukee’s succession plan, which he has been discussing with the parent company for a couple of years.

“Frankly within our company, succession planning has been a discussion that we’ve been investing more time, not just for Milwaukee, but for other lines of the business, as we all get older,” Vetta said. “I love what I’m doing, I love the bank, I love working with the clients, but I’ve been here 10 years and it was always my plan to have a transition plan in place when I got to this point.”

Flynn has more than 30 years of varied experience. He most recently served as a director at Skokie, Illinois-based small business lending analytics firm PayNet Inc. He also has served as chief operating officer of Westchester, Illinois-based airport terminal food franchise The Grove Inc., and as president and CEO of Lake Forest, Illinois-based Baytree National Bank & Trust Co. He will be relocating his family from the Chicago area.

Vetta said he doesn’t plan to retire anytime soon, but plans to spend more time with out-of-state family. Flynn will run the day-to-day operations of the bank.

As for hiring an outside candidate, the company has been growing so rapidly the demands of the president role have become high, Vetta said.

“For this particular president role, we felt that we needed to go outside of the bank to find the right fit,” he said. “What we did several years ago was we put a great deal of process around succession planning. We took a look at the job requirements, we took a look at developing our team and our future leaders in our company and we’ve been evaluating that for the past several years. We spend a lot of time thinking about right fit, right role and right time.”

First Business is evaluating the governance structure in Milwaukee as it makes this new hire and completes the consolidation of its charters, Vetta said. It will continue to have a significant market presence.

“With our business model, we think there’s a significant opportunity in this market, and so we wanted to make sure we’re making the right investments today to pay dividends down the road,” he said.

As part of the transition, current board chairman John Silseth will become lead director of the bank board and will remain on the holding company board.

First Business Bank-Milwaukee also announced that Dennis Sampson has been promoted to executive vice president. He will head the Milwaukee commercial lending team, chair the Milwaukee loan approval committee, supervise credit quality, find new talent and continue serving on the leadership team.

In addition, Bob Bell has been promoted to senior vice president. He will lead the commercial real estate and private wealth management groups in Milwaukee.

And Kim Preston has been promoted to vice president II in the treasury management division. She will be in charge of the Milwaukee treasury management and client services groups, as well as compliance and risk management.

“Our unwavering dedication to this company’s mission, and all it can do for its clients in the greater Milwaukee region, is stronger than ever, nearly tripling in size over the past 10 years,” said Vetta, in a statement. “I am excited for this next chapter as we continue to strengthen and invest in the foundation to be the best dedicated business bank partner and provider in the area.”

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Molly Dill
Molly Dill, former BizTimes Milwaukee managing editor.