Who's Who in Banking and Finance - 2011

April 2, 2011

Every business sector has influential players, whether they are in the public eye or wield their influence behind the scenes. In a monthly feature that runs in the first issue of the month through October, IBJ is identifying those people in eight different categories.

This is the second installment in the series and features women and men who are key members of the city’s banking and finance sector. 


Jeffrey Cohen, 47
Senior Vice President Investments Managing Director
Stifel Nicolaus and Co. Inc.

In 1996, Cohen joined David Knall to form the Knall/Cohen Group, then affiliated with McDonald and Company Securities, which was acquired by Stifel Nicolaus in 2005. Cohen works closely with families, foundations and endowments to help ensure that their assets are preserved and that they are provided the best opportunities to accumulate wealth. The group manages more than $6 billion in assets. Before joining the team, Cohen was a partner with the then-powerhouse, now-defunct Johnson Smith law firm. He and Knall subsequently formed the Knall/Cohen Group.

Although he grew up in Delaware, Cohen migrated to Indiana with a tennis scholarship to Indiana University, where he became a four-year-letter winner on the men’s varsity team. He earned both his bachelor’s in business and his law degree at IU. He later served on IU’s board of trustees, including chairing its finance and audit committee.

Cohen currently serves on the boards of Endowment Society of Park Tudor School and Indianapolis Marion-County Public Library Foundation. He is a former member of the American, Indiana and Indianapolis bar associations. Cohen was tapped in 1999 as one of IBJ’s Forty under 40.


J. Chris Cooke, 46
Managing Director Investments
Cooke Financial Group of Wells Fargo Advisors

Founded in 1969, Cooke Financial Group is a family team comprising John Cooke and his two sons, Chris and Brian. In addition to being a managing director, Chris Cooke is the group’s senior institutional consultant. Cooke Financial offers professional investment consulting and comprehensive wealth management consulting.

Before joining Cooke Financial, he was an accountant for Ernst and Young. He specializes in estate, tax and cash-flow planning and fiduciary liability. His experience and background, especially in auditing and performance measurement, have played a key role in Cooke Financial Group’s consulting efforts. Although he isn’t currently practicing, he is both a CPA and an attorney. Since 1996, Cooke has been a member of the Wells Fargo Advisors Premier Advisors recognition council, which honors financial advisers for their professional achievement. He has spoken to numerous groups, including Barrons Top 100 Financial Advisors.

Cooke has his bachelor’s from the University of Notre Dame and his law degree, with a focus on tax law, from the Indiana University School of Law, Indianapolis. He earned the professional designation of Certified Investment Management Analyst in 2000. He is a member of the Indiana Bar Association. He is active in the community and currently serves as chairman of Conner Prairie Museum Inc., and treasurer of the Conner Prairie Foundation.

Cooke and his wife, Elizabeth, have three children and live in Fishers.


Lex Curry, 57
Senior Vice President, Regional Manager
Commercial BankingWells Fargo and Co.

As senior vice president and regional manager, Lex Curry leads a team of experienced relationship managers who are responsible for managing corporate banking and financial-services relationships for public and private companies with annual revenue of $10 million and more. Curry joined Wells Fargo in 2004, when he opened its regional commercial banking office here.

Curry has 30 years of experience in financial services, including work in commercial banking and public accounting. Before joining Wells Fargo, he worked with National City Bank.

A strong supporter of his community, Curry serves on the board of Visiting Nurse Services of Indiana. He supports a variety of other not-for-profits, including the Association for Corporate Growth, the Indy Partnership, Prevent Blindness Indiana, Boys and Girls Clubs of Indianapolis, United Way of Central Indiana, Downtown Sertoma Club, Big Brother Big Sisters and First Baptist Athletics. He sits on the NCAA Final Four Committee.

A native of Michigan, Curry graduated from Indiana State University and has lived in Indiana since 1980. He, his wife and son live in Fishers.

Joe DeHaven

S. Joe DeHaven, 61
President and CEO
Indiana Bankers Association

A former banker, Joe DeHaven joined the IBA as president and chief operating officer in 2006, as a result of a merger between IBA and Community Bankers Association of Indiana, where he had served as president and CEO since 1990. He assumed his current role in 2007. He points out that, in 2010, “Indiana banks provided nearly $25 million in funding to more than 19,000 community groups.”

Early in his career, DeHaven was an executive officer of Merchants National Bank of Muncie, now First Merchants Bank, a position that laid his foundation of banking knowledge. He earned a bachelor’s from Ball State University and is a graduate of the Graduate School of Banking in Wisconsin. He is now a trustee of the latter school.

He is on the board of the Indiana Statewide Certified Development Corp.; a member of the New Market Tax Credit Committee of the Great Lakes Capital Fund for Housing; on the board of the American Bankers Association Education Foundation; and assistant treasurer and board member of the Indiana Legal Foundation. He was appointed by Lt. Gov. Becky Skillman to the advisory council of the Office of Community and Rural Affairs.

DeHaven was named the 2010 Association Executive of the Year by the Indiana Society of Association Executives and is a member of that organization. He has served as chairman of the Council of Community Banker Associations and as a board member of the Independent Community Bankers of America. He is past president of the board of Family Service of Delaware County and has volunteered for fundraising activities for the YMCA, United Way and Ball State University Foundation. He and his wife have three children and four grandchildren.


Gary Hentschel, 53
Central Indiana District President
Key Bank NA

As president of Key Bank’s Central Indiana District, Gary Hentschel has full responsibility for growing the client base in retail banking, business banking, commercial banking, Key investment services and Key private bank for Key Bank in central Indiana. Hentschel joined Key for a second time in 2007 and has more than 30 years of experience, including 19 years in financial services. He has experience in client acquisition, credit, lending, sales and leadership in financial services.

Before joining Key, Hentschel was president and COO of Personnel Management Inc., a privately held light industrial staffing firm, headquartered in Greenwood, with 45 offices in 10 states. Under his leadership, the company more than doubled its sales and profitability and was successfully sold from public to private ownership. Before joining PMI in 1996, he worked for both Indiana National Bank and Key Bank in central Indiana.

Hentschel has been active in philanthropic endeavors and currently sits on the boards of a variety of for-profit and not-for-profit organizations, including Indianapolis Neighborhood Housing Partnership, Greater Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce, the Central Indiana Transit Task Force, Greater Indianapolis Progress Committee and Centerfield Capital Partners. He also coaches and organizes youth sports.

The son of a longtime treasurer of the Purdue Research Foundation, Hentschel grew up in West Lafayette. Hentschel’s undergraduate degree is from Miami University and he has an MBA with a concentration in finance from Butler University. He and his wife, Pam, have two sons and two daughters.


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