John Olaimey Tapped to Lead $1.1 Billion-Asset Southern Bancorp Bank

by George Waldon  on Monday, Mar. 5, 2012 12:00 am  

"Based on his past observations, Walter, after a series of staff and local board member interviews, recommended him to the Board.

"John's corporate experience and experience in building systems and processes of a growing community bank is a perfect match for our bank needs.

"John, a known and proven talent, living in Arkansas was a much lower risk than a candidate recruited in a national search. Also, expensive recruitment and moving costs were avoided with a local hire."


‘I'm Impressed'

The only current Southern Bancorp director with a resume built on banking likes what he sees in Olaimey, a lawyer since 1998 who was vice president of corporate law for Alltel Corp. before joining the Centennial Bank venture.

"I'm impressed with John," said Jerry Sims, retired chairman and CEO of Blytheville's First Delta Bankshares Inc., a $314 million-asset holding company purchased in 2009 for $60 million by Southern Bancorp.

"He's a young man, and he has the energy to run a $1.1 billion-asset bank."

Sims said Olaimey was quizzed about his brushes with controversy, including business dealings with Gene Cauley.

Cauley, a former class-action attorney and leading Centennial shareholder when the bank was sold to Home BancShares Inc. of Conway in 2008, was sentenced to 86 months in federal prison in 2009 for stealing $9.3 million from a client trust account.

Sims was satisfied that Olaimey's work with Cauley was not troublesome and would not compromise his position at Southern Bancorp. "He's an intelligent young man," Sims said of Olaimey.

Before joining Southern Bancorp, Olaimey was president of Radius Group LLC. Formed in 2010, the Little Rock enterprise assists community banks with the management, marketing and disposition of other real estate owned.



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