Bank of the Ozarks Shareholders Approve 13 Director Nominees

Shareholders at Bank of the Ozarks approved all 13 nominees for its 2012 board of directors today at its annual meeting.

Shareholders of a publicly traded (Nasdaq: OZRK) Little Rock-based bank holding company also voted to approve an advisory, non-binding vote on the company's executive compensation.

Voters also ratified the audit committee's selection and appointment of the accounting firm of Crowe Horwath LLP of Oak Brook, Ill., as independent auditors for 2012. The company has performed this duty since 2006.

New Board Members

Three new board members elected were:

  • Nicholas Brown, 53, president and CEO of Southwest Power Pool of Little Rock.
  • John Reynolds, 47, a pathologist and laboratory director for Memorial Hospital in Bainbridge, Ga.
  • Sherece West, 46, president and CEO of the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation.

The 10 members re-elected are:

  • George Gleason, 58, chairman and chief executive officer since 1979.
  • Mark Ross, 56, vice chairman and chief operating officer, who has served the company since 1980.
  • Jean Arehart, 71, senior lending officer and director since 2002.
  • Richard Cisne, 61, founding partner of the Little Rock accounting firm of Hudson Cisne & Co. and a director since 2004.
  • Robert East, 64, chairman and CEO of the Little Rock general contracting firm of East-Harding Inc. and a director since 1997.
  • Linda Gleason, 57, deputy CEO and assistant secretary of Bank of the Ozarks, wife of George Gleason and a director since 1987.
  • Henry Mariani, 73, chairman of NLC Products Inc. of Little Rock and director since 1997.
  • Robert Proost, 74, a retired A.G. Edwards executive and a director since 2011.
  • R.L. Qualls, 78, retired president of Baldor Electric Co. of Fort Smith and a director since 1997.
  • Kennith Smith, 80, retired owner of Smith Cattle Farm and Mulberry Lumber Co. and a director since 1997.

Only one question was asked at the Bank of the Ozarks Inc. annual meeting today in Little Rock: Can the company match last year's spectacular performance in 2012?

George Gleason, chairman and CEO, didn't say the company would meet or exceed 2011's record net income of $101.3 million.

That's because last year's profits were boosted by an extraordinary item: Nearly $36 million of bargain purchase gains linked with FDIC-assisted acquisitions.

However, Gleason didn't say the company wouldn't beat $101 million in 2012 either.

He did say the company's profit goal was directed to surpassing core earnings, profits from its normal ongoing business activities. Bank of the Ozarks generated core earnings of about $66 million last year.

The company reported net income of $18 million during the first three months of 2012.

"The company's goal is to improve on our first quarter net income in each succeeding quarter of 2012," Gleason said. "We think that is a realistic and achievable goal."

Gleason also added an unspecified loftier expectation for 2012 profits: "I have a different personal goal. It's probably not reasonable."

Tuesday's meeting was held at the company's corporate headquarters at 1790 Chenal Parkway in west Little Rock.