Board of Directors
Okan Akin serves as President and Chief Risk Officer of Allegiance Bank and Executive Vice President and Chief Risk Officer of Allegiance Bancshares, Inc. He has over 20 years’ experience in the banking industry in Houston. Mr. Akin joined Independence Bank as Senior Credit Officer in August 2002. He was promoted to Chief Credit Officer in 2004 and later promoted to President in August 2009. He served as CEO of Independence Bank from July 2010 to November 15, 2013. Independence Bank merged with and into Allegiance Bank, the wholly owned subsidiary of Allegiance Bancshares, Inc., effective November 15, 2013. Since joining Allegiance Bank in 2013, he has held the position of Regional President, Deputy Chief Credit Officer and Chief Administration Officer. Okan holds a Master of Business Administration and a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Houston.
Board member since 2013
Cynthia A. Dopjera joined the Allegiance Bank Board of Directors in February 2019. Ms. Dopjera is a CPA who retired from public accounting in 2018. She joined Harper & Pearson Company, P.C. in 2000 where she was a Shareholder, served as Chairman of the Firm’s Board of Directors, and held the position of Practice Leader over the Firm’s financial institutions practice. Prior to joining Harper & Pearson Company, she worked 18 years in the banking industry holding senior positions in both large national banks as well as local community banks. Ms. Dopjera holds a Bachelor of Science Degree from Siena College in Loudonville, NY and she is licensed as a Certified Public Accountant in the state of Texas. Ms. Dopjera currently participates as a member of the Board of Directors for Archaeology Now which is Houston’s Chapter of the American Institute of Archaeology. She is also currently a member of the Audit Committee of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston. Over the past several years, Ms. Dopjera has participated at the Board or Advisory Board level at several organizations to include Child Advocates, Inc., St. Agnes Academy and Susan G. Komen for the Cure.
Board member since 2019
Lynda Keene serves as Market President and Director of Allegiance Bank. Mrs. Keene has over 35 years of banking experience in the Houston area. She has served as a Director on two Community Bank Boards as well as the Houston Intown Chamber of Commerce. Mrs. Keene is currently a member of the Women Presidents Organization for the Houston Chapter and also enjoys her volunteer work and participating in other community projects and organizations.
Board member since 2010
Board member since 2007
William (Nick) S. Nichols is one of the organizers of the Bank and has served on our Board since 2008 and the Board of the Bank since 2007. Mr. Nichols retired in 2017 as the President of Suncor Companies, LLC, a real estate development company that primarily focused on the development of freestanding retail facilities throughout the United States. From 1974 to 1984, he worked as an audit principal at Ernst & Young. He has held numerous Board appointments, including advisory director at Community Bank, Katy, Texas. Additionally, he is the founder and director of the Nichols Foundation, a foundation to provide college scholarships to students on a need basis. He also serves on the development council of the Mays Business School at Texas A&M University. Mr. Nichols is a Certified Public Accountant and is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Texas Society of Certified Public Accountants. He received a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Texas A&M University. Mr. Nichols’ understanding of the Houston business market and leadership experience qualify him to serve on our Board. Mr. Nichols makes good use of both his experience in the real estate industry and as a CPA as he contributes by serving as a director of the Bank. He also provides informed guidance as a member of the Compensation Committee and as the Chairman of the Audit Committee.
Board member since 2007
With over 55 years of banking experience, Mr. Ramirez serves as Vice Chairman, Market President, and Director of Allegiance Bank. He is a graduate of both Texas Southmost College and SW Graduate School of Banking through Southern Methodist University. He has also completed The Management Program at Rice University. Mr. Ramirez has served in numerous capacities for organizations in the Katy and Houston communities as a Committee or Board Member. He currently serves as Chairman on the Board of Houston Methodist West Hospital.
Board member since 2009
Fred S. Robertson has served on our Board since 2011. Mr. Robertson has over 30 years of experience overseeing institutional and retail investments. He has managed fixed income investments and designed extensive quantitative models for bond management. For the past five years, Mr. Robertson has been managing his personal investments. Mr. Robertson holds a number of non-profit board appointments and volunteers with many organizations in Houston. Mr. Robertson received a Bachelor of Science from Cornell University and a Masters of Business Administration in finance from The College of William and Mary. Mr. Robertson’s significant experience in the banking industry and leadership skills qualify him to serve on our Board. Mr. Robertson utilizes his knowledge of investment and fund management as Chair of the Bank's ALCO Committee. His financial expertise provides additional benefit to the Company as he serves as a director of the Bank, as Chairman of the Compensation Committee and as Chairman of the 401K Committee.
Board member since 2011
Mr. Woodby serves as Vice Chairman, Executive Bank Office President, and Director of Allegiance Bank. He is an experienced community banker who has served business customers in the Houston area since 1967. He has over 53 years' experience in banking. Mr. Woodby was one of the founders of Enterprise Bank and Farmers & Merchants Bancshares since 2001. Prior to Enterprise Bank, he served as President and Chairman of Navigation State Bank.
Board member since 2015
Charles H. Carmouche is a life-long resident of Houston, Texas, and as such understands the constantly changing needs of the city and its people. Mr. Carmouche received his BA from the University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, Indiana, and his Doctor of Jurisprudence from the University of Texas, Austin, Texas and serves at the University of Houston Victoria as an adjunct professor. Mr. Carmouche has served as General Counsel for several companies, and has been a partner in several successful locally owned and operated businesses. He has served on the boards of Allegiance Bank, Post Oak Bank, N.A., Post Oak Bancshares, Inc., Evans Hamilton, Inc., John Paul II Catholic School, Strake Jesuit College Preparatory High School, Westside YMCA, the Catholic Diocese of Galveston-Houston, No More Victims, Inc., Cenacle Retreat House, Houston West Chamber of Commerce, The WorkFaith Connection, Inc., and the Advisory Board of Directors for the Center For Faith And Culture at the University of St. Thomas, Houston, Texas.
Board member since 2018
Matthew H. Hartzell has served on the holding company Board since our acquisition of Independence Bank in 2013 and joined the Bank Board since 2016. Prior to the acquisition, Mr. Hartzell served Independence Bank as the Vice Chairman of the Board, as the Chair of both the IT Committee and the Compensation Committee, and as a member of the Executive Committee, having served on that board over ten years. Mr. Hartzell currently serves as Chief Administrative Officer of N.F. Smith & Associates, L.P., an independent distributor of computer hardware components, and previously served as their Chief Operating Officer. For the past 20 years, he has also served as General Counsel of Valid Management, LLC, one of the holdings in N.F. Smith’s diversified portfolio of technology businesses. Prior to joining Valid Management, Mr. Hartzell was a commercial lawyer with Hirsch & Westheimer, P.C., for more than a decade. Since 2010, he served as a member of the SAE G-19 Committee, a committee dedicated to promulgating standards for the mitigation of counterfeit parts in electronic part purchasing. Mr. Hartzell served many years on the Board of the Woodlands Heights Civic Association. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree from St. John’s College, Annapolis, Maryland and a Juris Doctorate from the University of Houston. Mr. Hartzell’s extensive legal experience and business skills qualify him to serve on our Board. Mr. Hartzell understands computer technology and applications, which enables him to provide valuable insight and guidance as the Chairman of the Bank’s Information Technology Committee. Given the existence of cyber-security risks in the industry, his IT and general business skillsets also make him a valued member of the Enterprise Risk Management Committee.
Board member since 2016
Mr. Lester serves as Market President, Director of Allegiance Bank, and Executive Vice President of Allegiance Bancshares, Inc. He is a native Houstonian who attended the University of Texas at Austin, receiving a BBA in Finance and Management. With over 35 years of banking experience, Mr. Lester has worked for Texas Commerce Bank Austin, BancTexas Group Inc., Chase Bank and Sterling Bank. Previously serving as Chairman, he still serves as an Advisory Director in the Greater Heights Area Chamber of Commerce. He also is an active member of the Heights Rotary Club and is on the Board of the Heights Rotary Foundation.
Board member since 2009
Bob Neyland serves as Market President and Director of Allegiance Bank. Mr. Neyland has over 35 years of banking experience in the Houston market. He has been very active in numerous community activities, and is proud to be called a husband, father and now a grandfather.
Board member since 2009
Mr. Pujol serves as Market President, Director of International Banking, and Director of Allegiance Bank. With over 30 years of credit and commercial lending experience, he has held various senior level commercial lending positions, including Market CEO for Comerica Bank’s Memorial Office. Mr. Pujol currently serves as a Board Member and Secretary of The Spring Branch Community Health Center and Advisory Board Member of Bluehenge Capital. He is a graduate of the Spring 2013 Class of The Business/Civic Leadership Forum of the Center for Houston’s Future.
Mr. Pujol earned a BBA in Finance from the University of Houston, an MBA in Finance from the University of St. Thomas, and is also a licensed Certified Financial Planner, CFP.
Board member since 2012
Steven Retzloff serves as Chairman of Allegiance Bank and CEO of Allegiance Bancshares, Inc. With 30 years of Houston banking experience, he served as a Director and twice as Chairman of a publicly traded multi-billion dollar financial institution. His past work experience also includes General Motors, Bristol Myers, Retzloff Capital Corporation and CEO of Travis Body & Trailer, Inc. Additionally, Steve serves on the Boards of the Houston Food Bank, Greater Houston Partnership, Open Door Mission, Faith in Practice, and as Vice President of the Kinkaid School Investments Foundation. As a native Texan and a lifelong Houstonian, he received an Industrial Engineering degree from The Georgia Institute of Technology in 1979 and an MBA with distinction from the Babcock Graduate School of Management at Wake Forest University in 1981.
Board member since 2007
Ramon (Ray) Vitulli serves as Chief Executive Officer of Allegiance Bank and President of Allegiance Bancshares, Inc. He has over 30 years of banking experience, getting his start as a loan review examiner at Charter National Bank in Houston, then moving to Sterling Bank until joining Allegiance Bank in 2007, prior to the bank’s opening. Ray serves on the Texas Bankers Association Board, the St. Pius X High School Foundation and School Board, the CHRISTUS Foundation for HealthCare Board, and the Bluehenge Capital Partners Limited Partner Advisory Board. He is a graduate of The University of Texas at Austin with a Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance.
Board member since 2009