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First Foundation Inc. Appoints Gabriel Vazquez to Board of Directors

Appointment further enhances Board independence and diversity

First Foundation Inc. (NASDAQ: FFWM) (“First Foundation” or the “Company”), a financial services company with two wholly-owned operating subsidiaries, First Foundation Advisors and First Foundation Bank, announced today that Gabriel (“Gabe”) Vazquez has been appointed an independent director to the Company’s Board of Directors (“Board”). Mr. Vazquez was concurrently appointed to the Board of Directors of First Foundation Bank.

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Gabe Vazquez was named to the Board of Directors for First Foundation. (Photo: Business Wire)

Gabe Vazquez was named to the Board of Directors for First Foundation. (Photo: Business Wire)

With the addition of Mr. Vazquez, the Board is now comprised of ten directors, seven of whom are independent with 30 percent identifying as diverse based on gender or ethnicity. Mr. Vazquez will stand for election at the Company’s 2023 Annual Meeting of Stockholders. The Board has a focus on continued refreshment that brings fresh perspective, diverse views, and experienced insight to benefit stockholders.

“I am pleased to welcome Gabe to the Board of First Foundation,” said Max Briggs, Lead Independent Director. “His background as a senior leader in a large, highly regulated and publicly-traded business makes him a strong addition to our Board. Together with Gabe, our Board has a compelling set of knowledge and experience relevant to the banking industry and our clients, which will allow the Board to support management in creating the right strategy for stockholder value creation.”

“Gabe brings exceptional legal, financial and operating acumen to the Board,” said Scott F. Kavanaugh, President and CEO. “His knowledge and executive experience will be instrumental as we scale our business, navigate risks and remain the regional bank of choice for our clients in today’s dynamic market.”

“I look forward to joining First Foundation’s Board and working closely with the Company’s management team and Board members to help drive the acceleration of critical business initiatives during an incredibly important time for the banking sector and the economy,” said Mr. Vazquez.

Mr. Vazquez, age 45, is the Vice President and Associate General Counsel for Operations for Vistra Corp. (“Vistra”) (NYSE: VST), a leading Fortune 500 integrated power company based in Irving, Texas, a position he has held since 2016. In addition to managing and supporting the legal operations of Vistra and its national retail energy businesses, Mr. Vazquez oversees the legal department’s operations (including fiscal reporting and department project planning), and also facilitates the execution of Vistra’s enterprise crisis management program. Prior to his current role, Mr. Vazquez served as general counsel for TXU Energy, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Vistra, from 2008 to 2016. He was previously a corporate attorney for Michaels Stores, Inc. and was in private practice with the law firm of Gardere Wynne, which has since merged with Foley & Lardner LLP.

A Dallas native, Mr. Vazquez received his undergraduate degree from Southern Methodist University and his law degree from Southern Methodist University’s Dedman School of Law, where he was a Sarah T. Hughes Fellow. He serves on the Board of Trustees and on the Executive Committee of the Dallas Bar Foundation and as an Executive Board Member at Southern Methodist University’s Dedman School of Law. Mr. Vazquez also serves on the non-profit board of the Jesuit College Preparatory School of Dallas Foundation Inc. as a trustee and as a member of the Development Committee, and he is president of the Alumni Board.

About First Foundation

First Foundation Inc. (NASDAQ: FFWM) and its subsidiaries offer personal banking, business banking, and private wealth management services, including investment, trust, insurance, and philanthropy services. This comprehensive platform of financial services is designed to help clients at any stage in their financial journey. The broad range of financial products and services offered by First Foundation are more consistent with those offered by larger financial institutions, while its high level of personalized service, accessibility, and responsiveness to clients is more aligned with community banks and boutique wealth management firms. This combination of an integrated platform of comprehensive financial products and personalized service differentiates First Foundation from many of its competitors and has contributed to the growth of its client base and business. Learn more at or connect with us on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Forward-Looking Statements

This press release includes forward-looking statements within the meaning of the “Safe-Harbor” provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, including forward-looking statements regarding our expectations and beliefs about our future financial performance and financial condition, as well as trends in our business and markets. Forward-looking statements often include words such as “believe,” “expect,” “anticipate,” “intend,” “plan,” “estimate,” “project,” “outlook,” or words of similar meaning, or future or conditional verbs such as “will,” “would,” “should,” “could,” or “may.” The forward-looking statements in this press release are based on current information and on assumptions that we make about future events and circumstances that are subject to a number of risks and uncertainties that are often difficult to predict and beyond our control. As a result of those risks and uncertainties, our actual financial results in the future could differ, possibly materially, from those expressed in or implied by the forward-looking statements contained in this report and could cause us to make changes to our future plans. Those risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to, the risk of incurring credit losses, which is an inherent risk of the banking business; the quality and quantity of our deposits; adverse developments in the financial services industry generally such as the recent bank failures and any related impact on depositor behavior or investor sentiment; risks related to the sufficiency of liquidity; the negative impacts and disruptions resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic on our colleagues, clients, the communities we serve and the domestic and global economy, which may have an adverse effect on our business, financial position and results of operations; the risk that we will not be able to continue our internal growth rate; the performance of loans currently on deferral following the expiration of the respective deferral periods; the risk that we will not be able to access the securitization market on favorable terms or at all; changes in general economic conditions, either nationally or locally in the areas in which we conduct or will conduct our business; risks associated with changes in interest rates, which could adversely affect our interest income and interest rate margins and, therefore, our future operating results; the risk that the performance of our investment management business or of the equity and bond markets could lead clients to move their funds from or close their investment accounts with us, which would reduce our assets under management and adversely affect our operating results; negative impacts of news or analyst reports about us or the financial services industry; risks associated with proxy contests and other actions of activist stockholders, which may cause us to incur significant expense, cause disruption to our business and impact our stock price; the risk that we may be unable or that our board of directors may determine that it is inadvisable to pay future dividends at historic levels or at all; risks associated with changes in income tax laws and regulations; and risks associated with seeking new client relationships and maintaining existing client relationships.

Additional information regarding these and other risks and uncertainties to which our business and future financial performance are subject is contained in our 2022 Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2022, that we filed with the SEC on February 28, 2023, and other documents we file with the SEC from time to time. We urge readers of this press release to review those reports and other documents we file with the SEC from time to time. Also, our actual financial results in the future may differ from those currently expected due to additional risks and uncertainties of which we are not currently aware or which we do not currently view as, but in the future may become, material to our business or operating results. Due to these and other possible uncertainties and risks, readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on the forward-looking statements contained in this press release, which speak only as of today’s date, or to make predictions based solely on historical financial performance. We also disclaim any obligation to update forward-looking statements contained in this press release or in the above-referenced reports, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as may be required by law or NASDAQ rules.

Important Additional Information

The Company, its directors and certain of its executive officers are participants in the solicitation of proxies from the Company’s stockholders in connection with its upcoming 2023 Annual Meeting. The Company intends to file a definitive proxy statement and a BLUE proxy card with the SEC in connection with any such solicitation of proxies from the Company’s stockholders. STOCKHOLDERS OF THE COMPANY ARE STRONGLY ENCOURAGED TO READ SUCH PROXY STATEMENT, ACCOMPANYING BLUE PROXY CARD AND ALL OTHER DOCUMENTS FILED WITH THE SEC CAREFULLY AND IN THEIR ENTIRETY WHEN THEY BECOME AVAILABLE AS THEY WILL CONTAIN IMPORTANT INFORMATION. The Company’s definitive proxy statement for the 2022 Annual Meeting of Stockholders contains information regarding the direct and indirect interests, by security holdings or otherwise, of the Company’s directors and executive officers in the Company’s securities. Information regarding subsequent changes to their holdings of the Company’s securities can be found in the SEC filings on Forms 3, 4 and 5, which are available on the Company’s website at or through the SEC’s website at Information can also be found in the Company’s other SEC filings, including its Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2022. Updated information regarding the identity of potential participants and their direct or indirect interests, by security holdings or otherwise, will be set forth in the definitive proxy statement and other materials to be filed with the SEC in connection with the 2023 Annual Meeting. Stockholders will be able to obtain the definitive proxy statement, any amendments or supplements to the proxy statement and other documents filed by the Company with the SEC at no charge at the SEC’s website at Copies will also be available at no charge on the Company’s website at


Investor and Media Contact:

Shannon Wherry

Director of Corporate Communications

(469) 638-9642

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