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Cogent Bank

Board of Directors

Our Board of Directors is comprised of highly experienced and well respected business leaders in the communities we serve.  Each Director brings a unique set of skills to assist in guiding the bank's strategy while providing effective safety and soundness oversight.

Lee Hanna 

Lee brings over 30 years of banking experience to Cogent Bank.  Previously he was the Vice Chairman and CEO of CNLBancshares after spending 24 years in various capacities with Barnett Bank in Orlando, Miami and Jacksonville, as well as Chief Executive Officer to various Barnett affiliates and banks. He attended Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York; graduated from banking specific schools at the University of Colorado and University of Oklahoma. He served on the Valencia Community College Foundation, where his family foundation created an endowed chair for the nursing school; he is also member of the University of Central Florida Foundation and Board of Trustees of Barry University; he is a founding director of two non-profit organizations, The North Florida Land Trust and Equinox Documentaries; he is also a member of the advisory council of the St. Johns Riverkeepers.
 Chirag Bhavsar
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Chirag who holds a CPA designation brings over 25 years of banking experience to the Board of Cogent Bank. He is Co-CEO of CNL Financial Group and CEO of Strategic Capital as of January 2018.  During 2017 he served as CFO and COO of Corporate Capital Trust. For over 15 years he served as Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President of CNLBancshares and its subsidiary, CNLBank. Chirag was a founding member of Florida Choice Bank where he served as the Executive Vice President, Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer and from 1992 to 1999, he served as a Senior Audit Manager for Hacker, Johnson, Cohen, and Grieb. He has been an Independent Director at Currency Exchange International Corp. since August 3, 2012 and serves as its Lead Independent Director. Mr. Bhavsar serves as a Director or Treasurer of several community service organizations including Family Services of Metro Orlando, Church Street Investment Properties, Florida Banker's Association, Christian Service Center and Fellowship of Christian Athletes. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from the University of Florida and a  Masters in Accounting from University of Florida.  He graduated from University of Virginia in 1993.
Mitchel Laskey

Mitchel is co-founder and Managing Partner of DeepWork Capital an early-stage venture capital firm. He is also a Managing Director of MJL Advisors, Inc an advisory consulting practice. He was a co-founder and a member of the Board of Directors of CNLBank (merged with Valley National Bank); Past Chairman of the Board of IZEA; Co-founder and CEO of Dynamic Healthcare Technologies merged with Cerner. He has held other senior executive management and leadership positions for public and private companies (including 4 positions of CEO), developing entrepreneurial technology companies in healthcare, electronic manufacturing, physical security, transportation and commercial banking industries. Mitchel has testified before Congress regarding Homeland Security issues. He was awarded USF College of Business Administration’s “Entrepreneur of the Year” and holds a BA degree in both accounting and marketing from the University of South Florida. Mitchel is an inactive licensed CPA in Florida. After work, you can find Mitchel focused on Peloton competition, golfing, skiing, or spending time with his 4 grandchildren.


C. Daniel Rice

Dan brings an expansive legal and advisory experience to Cogent Bank. He has served as President and CEO of Mayport Venture Partners, LLC since its founding in 2000. Prior to assuming this position, Mr. Rice was a partner in one of America's premier law firms, McGuire Woods LLP. Before joining McGuire Woods, Mr. Rice was the Chief Administrative Partner at Mahoney Adams & Criser, P.A., a law firm which ultimately consolidated its practice with McGuire Woods. His experience includes both law firm management and extensive work in business transactions and litigation. Mr. Rice practiced law in the areas of mergers, acquisitions, corporate restructurings, complex contract negotiations, securities regulation, and litigation. Mr. Rice currently serves on the Board of Directors of EagleEye Intelligence LLC. He previously served on the Board of CNLBancshares, INC. He also serves on the Board of Managers of several private equity funds. He is active in various philanthropic endeavors, including service on several not-for-profit boards of directors. Mr. Rice received a BS in Financial Management from Clemson University in 1984 and both his MBA and JD degrees from the University of Florida in 1987.

Heath Ritenour

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Heath brings significant knowledge of the insurance industry to Cogent Bank. He joined Insurance Office of America in 1996 and now serves as its Chairman and CEO. He is a Member of The Arnold Palmer Medical Center Foundation Board, Board of Elders of Grace Church of Longwood, Advisory Board of Lifework Leadership Orlando and President of the IOA Foundation. He attended Liberty University where he majored in Business Administration.
 Paul Ellis 

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Paul serves as CEO of Foundry Commercial, bringing more than 27 years of commercial real estate brokerage, development, investment, and management experience. Prior to joining Foundry, he spent 15 years with Trammell Crow Company, most recently as Managing Director of North Florida. At Trammell Crow Company, he helped create the largest property management company in Florida. He was a former Operating Committee & ICOM Member at CNL, serves on the Executive Committee, University of Florida Real Estate Advisory Board. He also served on the boards of Health Research Institute - Arnold Palmer Hospital, The Christ School, and the Orlando Museum of Art. He was also a member of the Orlando Health Real Estate Committee and the Governance Committee, Florida Urban Land Institute. He was also the former Statewide UL Chair - Urban Mixed-Use Development Council. He attended University of Florida where he graduated with a B.S. in Real Estate and Urban Analysis.


Avani Desai 

Avani Desai is a Partner and President at Schellman & Company, LLC, a large niche CPA firm centralized on technology and security assessments, and a leading provider of attestation and compliance services. The firm is the only CPA firm that is also a globally licensed PCI Qualified Security Assessor, ISO Certification Body, HITRUST Assessor, and a FedRAMP 3PAO. Desai is also CEO and co-founder of MyCryptoAlert, a push notification and portfolio app for cryptocurrency. She serves on the boards of the Arnold Palmer Medical Center, the Central Florida Foundation, the Orlando Technology Association and The Women’s Collective Giving Network, and is the co-chair of 100 Women Strong, A Giving Circle at Central Florida Foundation.

Christopher Pillay

Christopher Pillay is President and CEO of Semele Data, LLC, a software firm based in Jacksonville, FL, that provides innovative solutions for test data sub setting and obfuscation for continuous testing and delivery. Semele's audit solution locates sensitive data exposed to breach in the test and development environments. Leading national clients in financial services, healthcare, and health insurance rely on Semele for fast and efficient automated test data solutions.

Pillay was the founder and former CEO of Meridian Technology, a technology and staffing company that listed most of the largest US Banks as clients, as well as being one of the leading firms in information technology consulting and software development. He is also a member of the Board of Directors at Consulting Solutions. Pillay has over 20 years of leadership and management experience in facilitating the development of business capabilities that provide effective and efficient solutions for large complex organizations.