Eight 40 Under 40 Honorees Who Became CEO

by Arkansas Business Staff  on Monday, Jun. 17, 2013 12:00 am  

Top row, from left: Clete Brewer, George Makris Jr., Scott Ford and Judy McReynolds. Bottom row, from left: John Roberts, Dabbs Cavin, Chris Wewers and Cliff Beckham.

Arkansas Business is proud to have featured a number of 40 Under 40 honorees who have gone on to the corner offices of publicly traded companies. Let’s count them:

  • Clete Brewer, Class of 1994, was CEO when StaffMark Inc. of Fayetteville went public in 1996;
  • George A. Makris Jr., Class of 1994, will become CEO of Simmons First National Corp. of Pine Bluff come Jan. 1, 2014;
  • Scott Ford, Class of 1995, became CEO of Alltel Corp. in 2002 (and then sold the company — twice);
  • Judy R. McReynolds, Class of 1999, ascended to the CEO spot at Arkansas Best Corp. of Fort Smith at the beginning of 2010;
  • John N. Roberts III, Class of 2000, has been CEO of J.B. Hunt Transport Services Inc. of Lowell since Jan. 1, 2011;
  • W. Dabbs Cavin, Class of 2002, became CEO of First Federal Bancshares of Arkansas, the Harrison thrift-holding company, when it was recapitalized by Bear State Financial Holdings LLC in 2011, but he’ll become executive vice chairman of the board at the end of June, when he joins Mountaire Corp. in Little Rock;
  • Chris Wewers, who will succeed Cavin as CEO at First Federal, is also a previous 40 Under 40 honoree — from the Class of 2006; and
  • Cliff Beckham was CEO of USA Truck Inc. of Van Buren from August 2007 until February of this year, when he returned to the role of CFO that he held when he was a member of the 40 Under 40 Class of 2007.



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