Chris White

Central Arkansas Market President

Simmons Bank

Little Rock

Age: 39

Chris White

Chris White wanted to be a pilot like the ones he saw growing up in Lonoke County, where his mother’s family owns a farm. But his father was in the insurance business — Mark White recently retired as CEO of Arkansas Blue Cross & Blue Shield — and “didn’t really want me to be a cropduster.”

After a year of flight school at Henderson State University, White earned a degree in agribusiness at the University of Arkansas. His first job after college, in pharmaceutical sales, was not the career he wanted.

For guidance, he turned to friends of his father: Tommy May, then CEO of Simmons First National Corp., and Rob Brothers, then an Arvest Bank executive. “They opened my eyes to other opportunities,” White said. He took a pay cut to join Simmons.

After management training, he started his lending career in northwest Arkansas. From there he became credit officer for Simmons in Hot Springs, then transferred to Little Rock in late 2013 to help integrate the purchases of Metropolitan National Bank and Delta Trust & Bank.

Now he oversees retail, lending and related services in the central Arkansas market.

He serves on several nonprofit boards, including the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, Little Rock Downtown Partnership and the American Heart Association.