Harris Simmons



Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes

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This is Fred Ball for Zions Bank, speaking on business.

Today, Harris Simmons, the chairman, president and CEO of Zions Bancorporation, receives the 2002 Distinguished Banker Award from the Utah Bankers Association. And he certainly deserves it.

Since his earliest memories, banking has been a part of Harris' life. He first worked for Zions in 1970 as a clerk handling canceled checks. In 1981 he became Zions Bancorporation's chief financial officer, at the age of 27. In 1986, he was appointed president of Zions Bancorporation and four years later, at the age of 36, he was named chief executive officer of Zions. What is remarkable is not that he has held these positions, but the success and growth that Zions has experienced under his tremendous leadership.

In 1990, when Harris assumed his current responsibilities Zions Bancorporation was roughly a $3 billion asset company. Today, Zions Bancorporation has approximately $25 billion in assets and more than 400 branch locations in eight western states, including Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, and Washington. Under Harris' leadership, Zions Bancorporation was named the nation's top performing bank in 1997 by U.S. Banker magazine. ABA Banking Journal Executive Editor Steve Cocheo wrote in a December 1998 cover story that Harris is "the very model of a modern financial executive." And both the Wall Street Journal and Fortune magazine recognized Zions as the top-performing bank relative to total return to shareholders for the decade of the 1990s.

In his quiet, unassuming manner, Harris Simmons has had a tremendous impact on the Utah community through his work with a number of organizations. Of note, he lead the Utah Symphony's successful capital campaign, was instrumental in bringing about the Zoo Arts and Parks (ZAP) tax, and played a key role in building Salt Lake City's homeless shelter.

Harris is certainly a generous contributor and a man of unquestionable integrity. Today, we salute him.

For Zions Bank, I'm Fred Ball. I'm speaking on business.

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