Arkansas Business' 25 Wealthiest Arkansans (25th Anniversary)

by Arkansas Business Staff  on Monday, Mar. 23, 2009 12:00 am  

Members of the Walton family.

Win Paul had three children by his first marriage and five more with Lisenne.

5. Don Tyson Family
The Tyson family wealth was built on chickens, but the company became the world's largest producer of all types of meat after it acquired IBP Inc. in 2001.

Last year, the family fortune in Tyson Foods Inc. stock was worth $1.2 billion, but the value of its stock has been halved since then.

The company has come a long way since its founder, John Tyson Sr., took the company public in 1963. When he was killed in a car accident in 1967, the company had less that 2 percent of the U.S. chicken market.

Tyson's son, Don, guided the company to control almost a quarter of the poultry market. His son, John Tyson, became CEO in 2000 and guided the company through the contentious acquisition of IBP, giving the company control of 27 percent of the nation's beef market, 23 percent of the chicken market and 18 percent of the pork market. Don Tyson retired as senior chairman in 2001. John Tyson stepped down as CEO in 2006, but remains chairman.

6. J.B. Hunt Family
Last year, the value of stock in J.B. Hunt Transport Services Inc. of Lowell moved the founder's family into second place among the top stockholders in Arkansas with an estimated worth of $1.35 billion.

Johnnie Bryan Hunt died in 2006. His widow, Johnelle Hunt, who helped her husband develop and expand the trucking company, retired last year from J.B. Hunt's board of directors.

With the decline in the market, the stock has lost more than half its value, sliced to about $650 million.

Hunt formed his trucking company in 1969. In 1971, Hunt incorporated the company and moved it to Lowell.

J.B. Hunt Transport Services is one of the nation's largest publicly traded truckload carriers and has been a leader in logistics management and the use of intermodal transportation.

The company joined forces with five other large truckload carriers to form a joint venture start-up called, a logistics business, in 2000.

After Hunt retired in 1995, his interests turned to real estate development. The family owns ranches in northwest Arkansas.



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