John Allison is the President and CEO of the Cato Institute. Prior to joining Cato, Allison was Chairman and CEO of BB&T Corporation, the 10th-largest financial services holding company headquartered in the United States. During his tenure as CEO from 1989 to 2008, BB&T grew from $4.5 billion to $152 billion in assets. He was recognized by the Harvard Business Review as one of the top 100 most successful CEOs in the world over the last decade.
Allison has received the Corning Award for Distinguished Leadership, been inducted into the North Carolina Business Hall of Fame, and received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Banker. He is the author of The Financial Crisis and the Free Market Cure: Why Pure Capitalism is the World Economy’s Only Hope and The Leadership Crisis and the Free Market Cure: Why the Future of Business Depends on the Return to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. In addition, he is a former Distinguished Professor of Practice at Wake Forest University School of Business, and serves on the Board of Visitors at the business schools at Wake Forest, Duke, and UNC–Chapel Hill.
Allison is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill. He received his master’s degree in management from Duke University, and is also a graduate of the Stonier Graduate School of Banking. Mr. Allison is the recipient of six honorary doctorate degrees.