Most Simmons First Executives See Pay Drop in 2016

by George Waldon  on Wednesday, Mar. 15, 2017 8:28 am  

George Makris Jr., 60, chairman and CEO of Simmons First National Corp., received total compensation of more than $2.4 million during 2016. That was almost 22.4 percent lower than 2015, according to information in the company's proxy statement released late yesterday.

Double-digit drops were reflected in all but one top executive at the $8.4 billion-asset bank holding company.

The total 2016 compensation of Robert Fehlman, 52, chief financial officer, and Marty Casteel, 65, senior executive vice president, each topped $1.1 million. That reflected declines of 20.2 percent for Casteel and 21.6 percent for Fehlman.

Barry Ledbetter, 54, executive vice president and chief banking officer, was the only Simmons First officer among the top five to receive in an increase in his total 2016 compensation. His combination of salary, stock awards and more totaled $819,752, a nearly 7.4 percent increase.

Patrick Burrow, 63, executive vice president and general counsel, received total compensation of $656,061 during 2016, a 12.8 percent reduction compared to 2015.

The base salaries among the top five executives were: Makris, $625,000; Fehlman and Casteel, $344,500; Ledbetter, $315,665; and Burrow, $271,310.

The two largest blocks of Simmons First stock are controlled by BlackRock Inc. of New York, 10.8 percent worth $192.4 million; and The Vanguard Group of Malvern, Pennsylvania, 7.57 percent worth $134.8 million.

Christopher Kirkland, 47, a real estate investor in Brentwood, Tennessee, who joined the Simmons First board in 2015, is the largest shareholder among company insiders. His 2 percent stake is worth nearly $36.4 million.

The Simmons First annual shareholders meeting will be held at 11 a.m. Wednesday, April 19 in the Ryburn Community Room at the company's headquarters at 501 Main St. in Pine Bluff.



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