Board of Directors

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Neal E. Arnold , Chief Executive Officer, President, and Chief Operating Officer and Director

Neal E. Arnold is Chief Executive Officer, President, and Chief Operating Officer of FirstSun and Sunflower Bank since April 1, 2022. He previously served as the President and Chief Executive Officer of Sunflower since 2018. Mr. Arnold served as Executive Vice President of Fifth Third Bancorp and Fifth Third Bank from 1998 to 2005, and as Chief Financial Officer of Fifth Third Bancorp and Fifth Third Bank from 1997 to 2005. Before that, he served as Treasurer of Fifth Third Bancorp and Fifth Third Bank, and as Senior Vice President of Fifth Third Bank. Prior to joining Fifth Third, he served as Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer of Midwestern Community Bank from 1980 to 1989. Mr. Arnold’s qualifications to serve as a director include his substantial c-suite leadership experience and as a chief financial officer of a large public company. Mr. Arnold has over 20 years of experience completing numerous regulatory compliance consulting engagements for bank boards.

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Mollie H. Carter , Executive Chairman and Director

Mollie H. Carter is the Executive Chairman of the FirstSun board of directors and Sunflower Bank. She served as President and Chief Executive Officer of FirstSun from 2005 until April 1, 2022, and she served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Sunflower Bank from 2005 to 2018. She served as a director of Evergy, Inc. and its predecessor, Westar Energy, a publicly-traded company, from 2003 until 2022, including as Chair of the Compensation Committee. She previously served as a director of Archer-Daniels-Midland Company, a publicly-traded company, from 1996 to 2017. Ms. Carter is also a Director of Lockton Companies and serves on its nominating and governance committee and the audit committee. Ms. Carter’s qualifications to serve as our Chair and a director include her substantial leadership experience as a chief executive officer, her financial expertise and her significant experience serving as a director of a large public company. Ms. Carter also has extensive experience with corporate governance, compensation matters, and with complicated financial regulatory and banking compliance environments. She also serves on the NPR Foundation Board of Trustees on the Executive Committee, and she is a Co-Chair of the NPR News Task Force. She is the current Chair of the Kansas City PBS Capital Campaign. Ms. Carter attended Dartmouth College where she earned a B.A. in Economics, followed by Harvard Business School where she earned an M.B.A.

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Christopher C. Casciato , Director

Christopher C. Casciato is a Managing Director of Lightyear Capital LLC, a position he has held since 2008. Before that, he spent over 20 years at Goldman, Sachs & Co., where he was elected partner in 2000. His career at Goldman, Sachs & Co. included a number of senior management positions in the firm’s investment banking division, including partner in the Financial Institutions Group, as well as partner and Chief Operating Officer of Goldman Sachs’ worldwide investment banking business. Mr. Casciato's qualifications to serve as a director include his substantial investment banker leadership and experienced financial acumen with a globally recognized investment firm. He also has experience with corporate governance and financial services regulatory matters, as an executive of Lightyear Capital LLC, a private equity firm focused on investing in financial services companies.

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Isabella Cunningham, Director

Isabella Cunningham joined FirstSun’s board as a result of the merger with Pioneer Bancshares effective April 1, 2022. Professor Cunningham served as a director of Pioneer Bancshares and Pioneer Bank from July 2013 until April 2022. Professor Cunningham holds the Stan Richards Chair in Advertising and Public Relations at the University of Texas at Austin. She retired from her position as the Director of the Stan Richards School in 2014 and is now also the Academic Director of the Tower Fellows Program at The University. Dr. Cunningham still serves on a number of academic committees and is a member of the School Budget Council. She also served as a member of the college Administrative Council, the University Curricular Task Force, the UT Presidential Enrollment Task Force and is a member of the Executive Council of the Latin American Studies School. Dr. Cunningham has served as director on public and private companies’ boards, and on several non-profit boards and non-profit institutions including St. Edward’s Board of Trustees, the National Museum of Natural History (Smithsonian) and the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. Professor Cunningham is a nationally recognized expert in advertising and intellectual property. Dr. Cunningham’s qualifications to serve as a director include her leadership and prior extensive board service, with over 30 years of experience and a variety of board engagements.

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Beverly O. Elving , Director

Beverly O. Elving is the former Director of Corporate Accounting, Vice President & Controller, and Sr. Vice President of Finance at Applebee’s International from 1998 to 2021. Before that, she served as the Chief Financial Officer of Integrated Medical Resources from 1996 to 1998, and additionally, Ms. Elving served as Vice President Finance & Accounting for the FDIC/Resolution Trust Corporation from 1990 to 1996. Between 1981 and 1996, Ms. Elving gained senior accounting, auditor, and Certified Public Accountant experience at Jackson County, Missouri, and Arthur Anderson & Co. Ms. Elving’s qualifications to serve as a director include her senior accounting and leadership experience including oversight of public companies and government entities.

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Kevin T. Hammond, Director

Kevin T. Hammond joined the FirstSun board as a result of the merger with Pioneer Bancshares effective April 1, 2022. Mr. Hammond served as a director of Pioneer from 2016 until April 2022. He is a Managing Director at JLL Partners, which he joined in 2004, where he focuses on making new private equity investments and managing the firm’s portfolio of companies. He also serves on JLL Partners’ management and investment committees. Prior to JLL, he worked at Greenhill & Co., where he worked in merger advisory and private equity. Mr. Hammond previously served as a director of FC Holdings, Inc. and First Community Bank, N.A. Mr. Hammond’s qualifications to serve as a director include his experience in managing financial transactions and extensive past and current director service on corporate boards.

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Paul A. Larkins , Director

Paul A. Larkins is currently a Senior Advisor with Aquiline Capital Partners, a position he has held since 2018. He is also the board member of Amur Equipment Finance. He previously served as board chair of LERETA, LLC, and as an advisor to Tarsadia Investments, both from July 2019 through July 2021. Mr. Larkins served as President and director of SquareTwo Financial Corporation, positions he held from 2009 to 2016. SquareTwo Financial Corporation filed for bankruptcy under Chapter 11 in March 2017. From 1998 to 2009, he served as the Chief Executive Officer and President of Key National Finance in Superior, Colorado. Before that, he served as a Senior Executive Vice President of Key Bank USA and KeyCorp Leasing Ltd., and before that, he held regional and national roles with USL Capital and IBM. Mr. Larkins' qualifications to serve as a director include his extensive external board and leadership experience with bank, specialty finance (leasing, marine, recreational vehicles, education, home equity, and auto dealer finance), as well as private equity institutions. Mr. Larkins is a graduate of Saint Mary’s College of California and the Stonier Graduate School of Banking.

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David W. Levy , Director

David W. Levy is a Managing Director at Pickwick Capital Partners, a position he has held since 2012. Before that, he served as Vice Chairman of Investment Banking and Co-Head of the Financial Institutions Group at Cowen & Company from 2009 to 2010 and served as Senior Managing Director at Bear Stearns from 2005 to 2008. Before Bear Stearns, Mr. Levy spent over 23 years at Citigroup Global Markets as a Managing Director and Head of the Bank and Financial Services Group, and Salomon Brothers Inc. as a Managing Director and Co-Head of the Financial Institutions Department. Mr. Levy also presently serves on the Board of Directors of Old Dominion National Bank. Mr. Levy's qualifications to serve as a director include his leadership experience as well as managing director positions with globally recognized investment banking firms. He also has experience as a prior member of the Audit and Compensation Committees of another financial institution. Mr. Levy attend The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania where he earned a B.S. in Economics in addition to an M.B.A. in Finance.

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Diane L. Merdian , Director

Diane L. Merdian is the former Chief Financial Officer of Redwood Trust, Inc., a position she held from 2010 to 2012, having previously served on Redwood’s board of directors from 2008 to 2009. From 1984 to 2008, Ms. Merdian was an equity analyst covering financial companies, working at Investment Banking firms and Institutional Investment firms. She primarily analyzed banks, focusing on valuation, strategy, and economics vs. accounting. As a Senior Vice President and Managing Director at Keefe, Bruyette & Woods from 2003 to 2008, Ms. Merdian led Bank Strategy and was head of Large-cap banks. She led the bank research effort at Morgan Stanley from 2000 through 2001 and led the bank research team at Montgomery Securities from 1995 to 2000. Ms. Merdian has also held equity analyst positions at Salomon Brothers, Kemper, Wellington Management, and Salomon Smith Barney. She began her financial career as an Economic Research Associate at the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, focused on monetary policy. Ms. Merdian’s qualifications to serve as a director include her c-suite leadership and over 20 years of experience as an equity analyst in the financial industry. Her strengths include her insight into strategy, valuation, management, and economics vs. accounting, with additional experience in Audit and Compensation matters.

Executive Management

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Neal E. Arnold , Chief Executive Officer, President, and Chief Operating Officer, Sunflower Bank

Neal E. Arnold is Chief Executive Officer, President, and Chief Operating Officer of FirstSun and Sunflower Bank since April 1, 2022. He previously served as the President and Chief Executive Officer of Sunflower since 2018.. Mr. Arnold served as Executive Vice President of Fifth Third Bancorp and Fifth Third Bank from 1998 to 2005, and as Chief Financial Officer of Fifth Third Bancorp and Fifth Third Bank from 1997 to 2005. Before that, he served as Treasurer of Fifth Third Bancorp and Fifth Third Bank, and as Senior Vice President of Fifth Third Bank. Prior to joining Fifth Third, he served as Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer of Midwestern Community Bank from 1980 to 1989. Mr. Arnold’s qualifications to serve as a director include his substantial c-suite leadership experience and as a chief financial officer of a large public company. Mr. Arnold has over 20 years of experience completing numerous regulatory compliance consulting engagements for bank boards.

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Robert A. Cafera, Jr., Chief Financial Officer, FirstSun and Sunflower Bank

Robert A. Cafera, Jr. currently serves as Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of FirstSun and Sunflower Bank, positions he has held since 2012. Before that, he served in different roles at Fifth Third Bank, including as Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of the Commercial Bank, and before that as its Assistant Controller. Before joining Fifth Third Bank, he was a Senior Manager with Arthur Andersen for about ten years.

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Mollie H. Carter , Executive Chairman, FirstSun and Sunflower Bank

Mollie H. Carter is the Executive Chairman of the FirstSun board of directors and Sunflower Bank. She served as President and Chief Executive Officer of FirstSun from 2005 until April 1, 2022, and she served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Sunflower Bank from 2005 to 2018. She served as a director of Evergy, Inc. and its predecessor, Westar Energy, a publicly-traded company, from 2003 until 2022, including as Chair of the Compensation Committee. She previously served as a director of Archer-Daniels-Midland Company, a publicly-traded company, from 1996 to 2017. Ms. Carter is also a Director of Lockton Companies and serves on its nominating and governance committee and the audit committee. Ms. Carter’s qualifications to serve as our Chair and a director include her substantial leadership experience as a chief executive officer, her financial expertise and her significant experience serving as a director of a large public company. Ms. Carter also has extensive experience with corporate governance, compensation matters, and with complicated financial regulatory and banking compliance environments. She also serves on the NPR Foundation Board of Trustees on the Executive Committee, and she is a Co-Chair of the NPR News Task Force. She is the current Chair of the Kansas City PBS Capital Campaign. Ms. Carter attended Dartmouth College where she earned a B.A. in Economics, followed by Harvard Business School where she earned an M.B.A.

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Laura J. Frazier , Chief Administrative Officer, FirstSun and Sunflower Bank

Laura J. Frazier currently serves as Executive Vice President, Chief Administrative Officer of FirstSun and Sunflower Bank, positions she has held since 2013. Before that, from 2010 to 2013, Ms. Frazier served as the Deputy Director of Human Resources for the Department of Developmental Disabilities for the State of Ohio. Before that, she spent eight years as the Director of Labor Relations for the same governmental agency.

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Jennifer L. Norris , Chief Credit Officer, Sunflower Bank

Jennifer L. Norris currently serves as the Executive Vice President and Chief Credit Officer of Sunflower Bank, a position she has held since 2020. Before that, from 1997 to 2019, Ms. Norris held various roles at Wells Fargo Bank, most recently serving as Loan Team Manager for the Credit Resolution Group, Senior Vice President, a position she held for ten years. Before joining Wells Fargo, Ms. Norris was Vice President, Credit Products Manager at Specialized Industries Risk Management from 2001 to 2004.