Ray Dillon will complete his ninth year as CEO of Deltic Timber Corp. at the end of June 2012. That means he has already been at the helm of a publicly traded company longer than Ron L. Pearce, who was CEO when Deltic was spun off from Murphy Oil Corp. of El Dorado in December 1996.
The Dillon years have been a singularly mixed bag, including both the zenith and the nadir of the housing boom. Deltic's revenue line items - timberland, pine lumber and residential lots in west Little Rock's Chenal Valley development - rode up and down together.
But Dillon has this distinction: He has not presided over an annual loss. Even in 2011, the El Dorado company eked out net income of almost $2.7 million, the smallest of his tenure but a profit nonetheless.
"Despite the continued weak markets for dimension lumber and residential real estate caused by the low level of housing starts and excess single family homes for sale in the United States, Deltic's excellent portfolio of assets pro duced both positive net income and respectable cash flows for yet another year," Dillon said in a statement released with the year-end results.
"We did not sell all of the hardwood bottomland acreage planned for 2011, as we kept this sales activity at the level the market would absorb, while maintaining the average sales price received per acre. Having our Mills segment generate positive operating income in this lumber market environment was quite an accomplishment."
When Pearce retired in 2003, Dillon was brought in from outside. He had been executive vice president of Gaylord Container Corp. of Deerfield, Ill., until it was sold to Temple-Inland Inc. in April 2002.
Dillon, now 56, began his career with Gaylord in 1977 as a process engineer for Gaylord's predecessor, Crown Zellerbach, and rose to vice president of primary production and mill operations. He also worked as general manager of Gaylord's Pine Bluff manufacturing facility from 1987 to 1994 and held other posts at the company's Chicago headquarters.
Dillon recently was designated chairman of the board of directors of the Little Rock branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. He serves as board member of the American Wood Council, the National Alliance of Forest Landowners, the Arkansas Forestry Association, the Arkansas State Chamber/Associated Industries of Arkansas and the Quapaw Council of the Boy Scouts of America. Last year he was named to the board of trustees of the Arkansas Research Alliance.
Dillon's total compensation last year fell by about $380,000, from $2.26 million in 2010 to $1.875 million in 2011. Dillon also realized almost $380,000 by exercising stock options during the last calendar year. As of March 1, he owned 93,604 shares of Deltic Timber stock worth about $6 million
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