Robert McCabe (’72, ’78)

Category: Alumni Professional Achievement | Awards

2019 Alumni Professional Achievement Award Winner

A founding member and chairman of Pinnacle Financial Partners, Robert McCabe has been integral in Pinnacle’s meteoric rise to one of the largest financial institutions in Tennessee and one of the 50 largest banks in the United States.

McCabe graduated from UT in 1972 with a BS in economics and was called into active duty during the Vietnam War. Upon return, he began working part time at Park National Bank of Knoxville and earned his MBA from UT in 1978.

He held various roles at Park National Bank until it was acquired by First American National Bank in 1985. He became executive vice president of the retail bank in Nashville and was soon promoted to president and CEO of First American Bank of Knoxville. By 1991, he was president of First American’s corporate and general banking divisions and became manager of all banking and nonbanking operations in 1999, shortly before First American’s merger with AmSouth.

After the merger, McCabe and two of his colleagues founded Pinnacle Financial Partners in 2000 as a commercial, private wealth bank based in Nashville. The company quickly expanded to Knoxville, and later to other cities in Tennessee, Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina. Pinnacle has been featured by The Motley Fool, Nashville Business Journal, and other outlets as an example of responsible banking growth.

McCabe is active in the Nashville community. He is chairman of the Nashville Electric Service’s power board and the board of Payment American Systems. He is also a member of the boards of Diversicare, Tennessee and National Health Investors, the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce, the Nashville Downtown Partnership, and University Fancards. He also serves on the Haslam College of Business Leadership Committee.

A graduate of Leadership Nashville and Leadership Tennessee, McCabe was named the 2013 laureate of Junior Achievement of Middle Tennessee’s Nashville Business Hall of Fame. In 2007, he was named a Significant Sig by Sigma Chi fraternity.