Police Report: Home BancShares' Ron Strother 'Under Stress Due to Employment' Before Death

by Arkansas Business Staff  on Monday, Feb. 1, 2010 2:45 pm  

Ron Strother in 2007 at the annual Tabriz fundraiser for the Arkansas Arts Center. Strother's body was found Sunday afternoon in a vehicle at the Centre at 10 shopping center in west Little Rock.

8-K Statement from Home BancShares

Monday afternoon, Home BancShares issued a form 8-K notifying the Securities & Exchange Commission of Strother’s death.

In its entirety, it says:

"On January 31, 2010, Ron W. Strother, President, Chief Operating Officer and director of Home BancShares, Inc. (the Company) died. Mr. Strother also served as chairperson of the Company’s ALCO [Assets & Liability Committee] and Asset Quality committees. No appointments have been made at the time of this filing as to Mr. Strother’s successor.

"We extend our deepest sympathies to Mr. Strother’s family. Mr. Strother was a valued member of the Company and will be greatly missed."

History

Strother was the highest ranking Arvest Bank officer in central Arkansas when he joined Home Bancshares in 2004 as the company prepared to go public.

Before joining Arvest, he was chairman and CEO of Central Bank & Trust in Little Rock, which was bought by Arvest in 2000.

Strother began his banking career with the former Commercial National Bank of Little Rock in 1973. Commercial National and First National Bank in Little Rock merged in 1983, and in 1990 he was named president and COO.

Strother and his family lived in the Valley Falls Estates neighborhood of west Little Rock. He - originally through an entity called Sugarloaf Estates LLC and then through a self-named revocable trust - bought the 6,500-SF house in March 2007 for a purported $1.9 million from 2610 Acres LLC, led by Valley Falls developer Rick Ferguson.

The property is currently listed for sale at more than $1.3 million.

The residence was put on the market at nearly $1.8 million on March 18, 2009. The listing price was reduced by $100,000 on May 19 before settling at $1.37 million on Nov. 11.

According to real estate records, the property is securing two mortgages totaling $782,000. Arvest Mortgage Co. of Lowell holds a first mortgage claim of $417,000, dating from February 2009, and Little Rock's Metropolitan National Bank holds a second mortgage claim of $365,000 dating from February 2008.

As president and COO of Home BancShares, Strother had an annual salary of $267,500 in both 2007 and 2008 and total compensation of about $400,000 in both of those years. Compensation information for 2009 is not yet available.

As of Jan. 22, according to a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, he owned about 44,700 shares of Home BancShares stock, which was valued at more than$1 million, although some of it was restricted. He also had stock options for 77,760 shares at an exercise price of $11.73.

Strother's death comes less than a year after that of another prominent banking figure. In May, Tom Steves of North Little Rock, a longtime advertising executive and a marketing director for Home Bancshares' Twin City Bank, was killed in a motorcycle crash in northern Pulaski County. He was 68.

 

 

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