Foss relies on motto to build success

The motto that virtually every employee at his company can cite is the same motto that sums up how David Foss approaches life, both personally and professionally: “Do the right thing, do whatever it takes, and have fun.” With this always on the forefront of his mind, he has worked his way to the top. The Moorhead native now leads a team of more than 7,000 employees as CEO of Jack Henry & Associates Inc. (NASDAQ: JKHY), an S&P 500 public company. It has grown to become one of the three largest providers of FinTech solutions to financial institutions in the United States and is known for outstanding technology, a full suite of SaaS (Software as a Service) solutions, and industry-leading customer service.

Do the right thing

Doing the right thing requires being ethical in both business and life. David wants to be known as the person and company that will follow through and live up to commitments. He relies on his midwestern values to help make decisions and stand firm in them.

“It often means going the extra mile,” he said. He has passed on this philosophy through mentoring others on his team, ensuring the things that have brought him success are shared with others. He is known to be fair-minded, a great listener, and is not afraid to take on any challenges that come his way.

Do whatever it takes

David is no stranger to hard work. He put himself through college by working a full-time job in addition to his studies. “I got an excellent education, but I had to do it on my own dime,” he said. His unusual combination of computer science, English, and business administration, all studied at MSUM, has served him well as his career has developed, allowing him to enjoy a wide variety of roles in his field. He began his career three days after graduating in 1985 as a Systems Engineer at NCR. He joined Advanced Computer Systems (ACS) in 1989 as a Sales Manager, where he marketed banking solutions to community banks in the Upper Midwest. In 1993, he joined BancTec as Vice President of Professional Services and served as Vice President of Operations. In 1997, Foss became Vice President of Sales for community banking at BancTec, and in 1999, he arranged the sale of BancTec’s financial solutions division to Jack Henry and Associates.

“I think it comes from my midwestern work ethic,” David said of his drive to succeed. “Doing whatever it takes means that if it takes extra effort, then do it. Don’t cut corners.”

From 1999 to 2003, he served a dual role at Jack Henry as President at the Open Systems group and General Manager at the Complementary Solutions group. He was instrumental in acquiring the 18 solution providers that built a new business within the Jack Henry corporate structure called ProfitStars and was responsible for integrating other acquired companies into the ProfitStars suite. Foss served as the President of ProfitStars from 2004 to 2014 when he became the President of Jack Henry & Associates Inc. He has been its Chief Executive Officer since 2016 and Board Chair since 2022. He also serves as a member of the board of directors for CNO Financial, Inc. (NYSE: CNO) and as a partner and director for Bold Ventures, LLC, a private venture capital firm focused on the technology space.

Have fun

To bring together the thousands of employees from across the country at Jack Henry, David hosts virtual town hall meetings and makes a point to travel to meet groups in person. He starts each meeting with a “dad joke,”something he’s become famous for among his employees. “You can’t be so serious about everything every day,” he said. “Sometimes you need to make yourself vulnerable and hope others do the same.” This focus has made Jack Henry known for a strong corporate culture and high levels of employee engagement and satisfaction.

David will soon have time for even more fun, as he plans to retire at the end of June this year. He can’t quite fully give up his role, though, and will become the Executive Board Chair of Jack Henry. After working full-time for 45 years, he’s ready to see what the future holds. “I’m not sure I’ll be good at slowing down,” he joked. “That may take some time.” First on the list is a new title: Grandpa, as his first grandchild (Elliot James Foss) was born on March 2in Milwaukee. Then, a month-long trip to Europe with his wife Bonnie and the marriage of his youngest son. For David, family will take priority in his new-found “free time.”

Coming to campus

David Foss will be the featured presenter at an event held at the Paseka Center for Business at MSUM on Thursday, April 25, 2024. He’ll first address current students and hold a question-and-answer session focused on various topics, from leadership, to strategy, to growing an organization. He believes this format allows the learners to ask the questions that are most relevant to them. “I hope they learn something they wouldn’t learn otherwise,” he said. Later in the day, he’ll hold a formal presentation speaking to local bankers and CEOs about the future of technology in banking. “My goal is to try to give them ideas about what’s going on in banking, the future, and things to be concerned and thinking about, so they can bring that information back to their teams,” he said.

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