Board of Directors

Meet our Board of Directors

J. Paul Austin III is Chairman of the Board of Cornerstone Bank and Cornerstone Bancshares as well as the Chairman of the Capital Committee. Mr. Austin is Founder and CEO of BQS Management and a Managing Director at BlueArc Capital Management. Mr. Austin spent seven years as Chief Investment Officer for Beach Capital Management, the investment office of Mr. S. Daniel Abraham. Mr. Austin began his career at Goldman, Sachs & Co. He graduated with Highest Honors from the Georgia Institute of Technology and served as a member of the board of trustees for the Georgia Tech Alumni Association.

Frederick D. Clemente serves as Lead Director of the Board and Chairman of both the Audit Committee and the Regulatory Compliance Committee of the Bank. Mr. Clemente is Managing Partner of Atlanta Capital Holdings, LLC and was formerly Managing Principal of BainbridgeZKS Real Estate Fund, a private equity fund headquartered in La Jolla, California and previously President, Chief Executive Officer and a Director of Park Holdings, Inc., which included Park 'N Fly, an off-airport parking company. His prior positions included Vice Chairman of HomeBanc Federal Savings Bank and International Controller for Mellon Bank. Mr. Clemente's community involvement as a Supporter, Benefactor, Volunteer, and Member include the Fulton County Sheriff's Reserve, Sheriff's Reserve Christmas Fund, Chick-Fil-A Winship Foundation, NYPD Emerald Society, and the Metropolitan Atlanta Police Emerald Society. Mr. Clemente also worked and supported the Mark Clayton "Starting Place" initiative for troubled teens in Miami, Florida, and "Kids in Distress" in Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Ben Danielson serves as a director of the Board of Cornerstone Bancshares and Cornerstone Bank.  He is an investment consultant with extensive experience in finance and investment management. He currently serves on the boards of multiple energy companies, both foreign and domestic.  Previously he was Vice President of Investments and later as Chief Investment Officer – China, for Quintana Capital Group, a Houston based private equity firm.  Mr. Danielson was also a Vice President at GE Capital Energy Financial Services and a Management Consultant at PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PwC).  Mr. Danielson began his career as a Field Artillery Officer in the US Army.  Mr. Danielson holds a BS in Mathematical Economics from the United States Military Academy, and an MBA from the University of Texas.


Ping Lee, PhD, serves as Co-Chairman of the Board of Cornerstone Bank and Chairman of Compensation Committee and Technology Committee.  Dr. Lee had a distinguished career over the last 27 years in the oil and gas industry and the technology industry during which he served in a number of regional and global executive positions and made key contributions.  More specifically Dr. Lee served as Asia-Pacific Regional Manager Director of SchlumbergerSema Financial Services, President of Atos Origin North Asia, Global Director of Human Resources of Schlumberger Wireline, Area President of Schlumberger Limited, President and Asset Manager of BG Group China (BGC), and most recently Chief Legal Representative of BGC at Royal Dutch Shell.

From 2001 and 2005 Dr. Lee managed the IT technologies and services businesses of SchlumbergerSema and Atos Origin in Asia that provided a full spectrum of industry and network infrastructure solutions to customers in financial services, telecom, energy, manufacturing and public sectors.  Among its business scopes, the companies provided technologies and services to over 50 banks and insurance companies across Asia in core systems, applications, and outsourcing data processing and business processes.  In addition, the companies also provided preparation and local technology services support to the IT systems integration project for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.

Dr. Lee received his PhD in Mathematics and MS in Computer Science from Cornell University.  He started his career as a research scientist at Schlumberger, during which time he published over 20 scientific research papers and was credited with two patents.


Gerald E. Lewis is President and CEO. Jerry joined the bank in 2018 and oversees the day to day operations of the bank. Jerry has over fifty years of banking experience in both metropolitan and rural banking environments. During that time frame he has served on multiple occasions as President, CEO and Chairman of several banks. Jerry has also served as Senior Loan/Credit Officer on multiple occasions. His banking career has also included service with the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency as a bank examiner. During the recent and prolonged banking crisis, he was responsible for helping in the successful remediation of several problem banks. Jerry is a native of San Jose, California and has resided in Georgia for over twenty years.  He is a lifetime outdoorsman and enjoys both hunting and fishing. Jerry has been married to his wife Elizabeth for forty-three years and they have four adult children.

P. Thomas Purvis serves as a director of the Board of Cornerstone Bancshares. Mr. Purvis has extensive experience in banking.  Prior to his retirement in 2015 Mr. Purvis served as vice-president for marketing and sales at Wells Fargo Bank and, prior to that, held the same position at SunTrust Bank.  From 2001 and 2007, he served as President of the International Division of SouthTrust Bank.  Mr. Purvis began his banking career at NCNB (now Bank of America) working in internal audit, internal loan review and then business development.

Clayton Snellings serves as Chairman of the KSOP Committee and ALCO Committee at Cornerstone and serves as a member of the Audit Committee. Mr. Snellings is Principal and President of Snellings Walters Insurance Agency. He is a member of the Society of Chartered Property and Casulaty Underwriters (CPCU), and is a past-President of the Independent Insurance Agents of Georgia. Mr. Snellings currently serves the community as a Board Member of the Sandy Springs Chamber of Commerce, member of Kiwanis International, Kingswood United Methodist Church, and Director of Friends of Prison Family Ministries. Formerly, Mr. Snellings was the President of Holy Innocents Episcopal Athletic Association and led fundraising campaigns for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.