Mr. Kavanaugh brings proven entrepreneurial executive leadership and a strong knowledge of finance, banking and real estate to First Foundation and its affiliates. In his role as the CEO of First Foundation, he is responsible for providing strategic leadership and overseeing the operations of both First Foundation Advisors and First Foundation Bank.
Mr. Kavanaugh was formerly an Executive Vice President and Director of Secondary Marketing for Provident Funding. Mr. Kavanaugh was a founding stockholder of Commercial Capital Bancorp and served as Director, Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer from June 1999 to February 2003. Mr. Kavanaugh also served as Director, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Commercial Capital Mortgage since its formation in 1998 until 2003. During his tenure, the bank grew over 400% and was successfully taken public in December 2002.
Other responsibilities included management of interest rate risk, Director of Human Resources, Director of the Trust Department, and negotiation of loan transactions, loan review, and oversight of operations in the mortgage company. He was Chairman of ALCO, and a member of Executive, Compliance, Information Technology, Loan and Internal Asset Review committees.
Mr. Kavanaugh currently serves on several corporate and community boards. He is the Lead Director on the Board of Directors for NexPoint Residential Trust, Inc. located in Dallas, TX and serves as the Lead Director on the Board of Directors for VineBrook Partners LLC, a private REIT that purchases, owns, and operates affordable single-family housing. He also is on the Board of Directors of Colorado Federal Savings Bank in Greenwood Village, CO and its parent holding company, Silver Queen Financial Services Inc. In 2018, he was appointed to the Board of Lanakila Pacific Foundation located in Honolulu, HI.
From January 2000 until June 2012, Mr. Kavanaugh served as Independent Trustee and Chairman of the Audit Committee and from June 2012 until December 2013 served as Chairman of the Highland Mutual Funds managed by Highland Capital Management, an SEC registered investment advisor headquartered in Dallas, TX. Prior to entering banking, Mr. Kavanaugh spent a majority of his career in investment banking. After becoming a partner of Great Pacific Securities, Inc., a west coast-based regional firm, Mr. Kavanaugh became Head of Trading for fixed income and equity securities.
Mr. Kavanaugh earned a BS in Business Administration - Accounting at the University of Tennessee and a Master’s of Business Administration in Information Systems at University of North Texas.