First Merchants Corporation El –

MUNCIE, Indiana, June 23, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — First Merchants Corporation, an $18 billion financial holding company, has elected Kevin D. Johnson and Jason R. Sondhi to the boards of First Merchants Corporation and First Merchants Bank. Johnson, president and CEO of the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation, has focused on job creation, capital investment and small business growth for the city of Detroit since 2018. Sondhi, founder and chairman of Sondhi Solutions, headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana, oversees the strategy of its staffing and IT consulting firm serving small and medium businesses and government agencies.

“The First Merchants Board of Directors is pleased to welcome Mr. Johnson and Mr. Sondhi, who are both exemplary leaders, to our Board,” said Chairman Charles E. Schalliol. “I believe First Merchants shareholders and customers will share our enthusiasm in welcoming their executive leadership and business acumen to our Board of Directors.”

More recently, Johnson was instrumental in bringing Fiat Chrysler’s $4.5 billion investment to Detroit, as well as thousands of automotive jobs and Fiat Chrysler suppliers. An industry veteran, Johnson has held public and private economic development positions across the United States, including Arizona, Florida, North Carolina and Georgia. In his most previous role at Invest Atlanta, Johnson led the city’s economic development program, helping create jobs and generating billions of dollars in new capital investment.

“I admire what First Merchants stands for and am delighted to join the Board. I hope my background in economic development will enable me to provide information that adds value to society,” Johnson said. “I look forward to making meaningful contributions to help propel the bank forward in its mission to provide excellent service to its customers and communities.”

Sondhi, an entrepreneur, founded Sondhi Solutions in 2009. Under his leadership as CEO, the company quickly grew and expanded across the United States. Sondhi Solutions has been named an Inc. 5000 member, as one of the fastest growing companies in the United States, three times.

“First Merchants is an exemplary and successful company that cares deeply about its customers, colleagues and communities. I am honored to join a company that every day truly demonstrates its values ​​and commitment to all of its stakeholders,” Sondhi said.

The two new directors bring a wealth of experience to the Board. Johnson was named one of the Top 50 Business Developers of 2019 by Consultant Connect, a consulting agency designed to bridge the gap between business developers and site consultants. He is also a member of the International Council for Economic Development.

Sondhi is a member of the board of directors of Weaver Popcorn Company and of the executive council of the Boy Scouts of America Crossroads of America Council. He received the Indianapolis Business Journal “Fast 25” award as the fastest growing company in 2015 and 2016 and “Forty Under 40” recognition in 2017.

With the addition of Mr Johnson and Mr Sondhi, First Merchants will have a 14-member board, including 12 outside independent directors. Mr Johnson and Mr Sondhi will be on the ballot for continuing terms at the company’s annual meeting of shareholders in May 2023.

About First Merchants Company:
First Merchants Corporation is a financial holding company headquartered in Muncie, Indiana. The Company has a chartered full-service bank, First Merchants Bank. The Bank also operates as First Merchants Private Wealth Advisors and Level One Bank (as divisions of First Merchants Bank). First Merchants Corporation common stock trades on the NASDAQ Global Select Market System under the symbol FRME. Quotes are published in daily newspapers and can be viewed on the company’s website ( FIRST MERCHANTS and the Shield logo are federally registered trademarks of First Merchants Corporation.

For more information contact:
Nicole Weaver, Vice President/Director of Corporate Administration


Luisa D. Fuller