Meet the CEO: Keith Cargill

The chief exec at Texas Capital Bank on why he'll be a terrible retiree.

Texas Capital Bank has been catering to the needs of privately owned, middle-market companies for more than 15 years. But Keith Cargill, the bank’s president and CEO, believes its brightest years are still to come. The 61-year-old quail-hunting enthusiast (and “closeted” Pilates fan) teamed up with Texas Capital chairman emeritus Jody Grant, recently retired CEO George Jones, and four other partners to launch the Dallas-based company in 1998. It began with an initial capitalization of $80 million, the largest at the time in U.S. history. The bank has thrived in its once-underserved niche—and has a nationwide customer base, fueled by client recommendations, to prove it.  

First job: Washing windows and used cars and mopping floors at the local car dealership in Angleton, a little town I grew up in, south of Houston. 

Worst job: My worst job was operating an air hammer at Dow Chemical. It felt like your gums were sore when you were through; everything on your body hurt. 

Company culture: I’ll just put it this way: Warren Buffett says he skips to work. I dance to work. 

Management style: I very much appreciate and encourage people to really share their ideas and be as transparent as they can. 

Strategies for success: We want to be thoughtful, but not so thoughtful that we analyze to death and then procrastinate on action. We want to be engaging with our clients, we want to engage each other and be collaborative, and then take action.

“I’m not going to make a good retiree, and I’m not necessarily proud of that. I’m going to need some really active investments and an office.” 

Keith Cargill

Lessons learned: That you have to establish and never take for granted the trust and importance of communication with each other, with the regulators, and with clients. 

Other careers considered: I started college as a chemistry major because I got a scholarship from Dow; that’s how I was able to go to Baylor. I switched to accounting, and Arthur Andersen taught me how business really worked. 

Strengths: I love people. It’s genuine. I find that I just learn so much by hearing about other peoples’ interests. You can imagine how much I love to recruit. 

Weaknesses: My weakness is that I see the upside in people; I don’t always see the downside. I think another weakness would be that I just want everyone to succeed, because I see their potential. 

Motivation: My motivation is really about a deep sense of responsibility that I believe in. I believe that God has given each of us unique gifts and talents, and it’s our responsibility to use them as best we can. 

Family life: I have remarried in the last year to a woman that I knew for 14 years. She has two daughters, so now I have four daughters and a son. And four grandkids—and it’s as good as they say. 

Reading: I’m reading some of the biographies of our different presidents. I’m picking the ones I’m most interested in that have certain qualities I really admire, and then I want to fill in with the others. I’ll probably learn more from some of the others. 

Retirement plans: I’m not going to make a good retiree, and I’m not necessarily proud of that. I’m going to need some really active investments and an office.