John C. Tolleson
Executive Chairman of Tolleson Wealth Management
John Tolleson is Executive Chairman of Tolleson Wealth Management. He founded the firm after retiring as Chairman and CEO of First USA, the financial services company he founded in 1985.
In building the core team of specialists for Tolleson Wealth Management, John called upon his more than three decades of experience in banking and financial services. While attending Southern Methodist University, he began his banking career with National Bank of Commerce, eventually overseeing all of the bank’s commercial lending activities. He then joined MBank Dallas, an MCorp subsidiary, managing correspondent banking. He later served as Chairman and CEO of MBank Austin, and subsequently as Managing Director of the retail banking and marketing division of MCorp, which ultimately became First USA.
In 1989, Tolleson led a leveraged buyout of First USA and in 1992, he took the company public, listing it on the NYSE. Under his leadership, First USA grew from $400 million to $24.6 billion in credit card loans prior to its merger with Bank One Corporation in 1997. After the merger, Tolleson joined the board of Bank One and started The Tolleson Group. In 2000, he founded Tolleson Wealth Management.
As Executive Chairman of Tolleson Wealth Management, John focuses on strategic planning, policy and investment services. John is a member of the firm’s Board of Directors as well as its Executive Committee. He and his family continue to be significant clients of the firm.
As a community leader, he devotes time and energy to various charitable and philanthropic organizations. John serves on several boards, including the Baylor Health Care System Foundation and Southwestern Medical Foundation. He served on the Board of Trustees of his alma mater, SMU, for 12 years (2000-2012) and is the former Chair and current Vice-Chair of the university’s Investment Committee. John also served as Chairman of the Executive Board of the Edwin L. Cox School of Business for 10 years (2004-2014) and continues to serve as a member of the board. John was the recipient of the Cox School of Business Distinguished Alumni Award in 1996, The Mustang Award in 2012 and the “M” Award in 2013, in which he became an honorary Letterman of SMU. In 2014, John was named a Laureate by Junior Achievement and was inducted into the Dallas Business Hall of Fame.
John is married with a son, daughter and six grandchildren. He grew up in Ennis, Texas before moving to Dallas to attend SMU. He enjoys spending his free time with his grandchildren in addition to boating, golfing and cycling.