Mark Hardwick

Mark Hardwick, Ball State University alumnus and Board of Trustees member

Ball State University alumnus and Board of Trustee member Mark Hardwick is taking on a new leadership role at First Merchants Corporation.

Hardwick, '93 MBA '99, will succeed retiring First Merchants President & CEO Michael C. Rechin as CEO effective January 1, 2021. Hardwick currently serves as chief operating officer (COO) and chief financial officer (CFO) of First Merchants Corporation, a $12.3 billion financial holding company, headquartered in Muncie, that operates in central Indiana and Ohio.

“I want to congratulate Mark for this next step in his career,” Ball State President Geoffrey S. Mearns said. “Ball State is grateful to have a great partner in Mark, who has dedicated his life to making the Muncie community a better place to live and work. This is a great day for our University and our community.”

Board Chair Renae Conley lauded Trustee Hardwick for his dedication.

“Since the day he started on the Board, we have witnessed his willingness to go above and beyond,” she said. “Mark is a true community asset.”

Hardwick joined First Merchants in November 1997 as corporate controller and was promoted to CFO in April of 2002. In June of 2007, he assumed all leadership duties related to operations, technology and risk management for the corporation. In 2016, his title expanded to include COO. That broadened his responsibilities to oversight of internal audits, facilities and corporate social responsibility.

“I am grateful for the opportunity to work with many people and organizations in the community,” he said. “I firmly believe that in my role at Ball State and First Merchants, I can help make the Muncie community stronger for all of us.”

Hardwick also serves as a board member for Cardinal Properties Inc., the Miller College of Business Advisory Board, and on the Investment Committee of The Community Foundation of Muncie and Delaware County.

He was a member of the Ball State 1989-90 men’s basketball team, which was inducted into the University’s Athletics Hall of Fame. He was also the recipient of the Indianapolis Business Journal’s “CFO of the Year” in 2012.