by Gwen Moritz
Posted 3/26/2012 12:00 am
Updated 2 years ago
When I became editor of Arkansas Business in 1999, in the waning days of the dot-com boom and the age of the IPO, Arkansas was home to 31 publicly traded companies. With the infinite wisdom of hindsight, some of the companies on that list seem very quaint: Ammonia Hold Inc. of Lonoke, Loislaw.com Inc. of Van Buren, Aarow Environmental Group Inc. of Rogers.
Back then, this state had eight publicly traded financial institutions - even after First Commercial Corp. had been sold to Regions Financial in 1998. Who remembers North Arkansas Bancshares Inc. of Newport?
Of the 31, only 14 remain as standalone publicly traded companies headquartered in our state: Acxiom, Advanced Environmental Recycling Technologies, Arkansas Best, Bank of the Ozarks, Deltic Timber, Dillard's, First Federal, J.B. Hunt, Murphy Oil, P.A.M. Transportation, Simmons First National, Tyson Foods, USA Truck and Wal-Mart. Three others have been added - America's Car-Mart, Home BancShares and Windstream - to create a roster that stands at 17.
Most of the others have been acquired by other, bigger companies - think Alltel, Superior Financial, Baldor Electric and others. A few just faded away.
This week, as has been our habit every couple of years, we present profiles of the chief executive officers of the 17 publicly traded companies that still call Arkansas home. Almost a quarter of them - Joe Brooks of AERT, William Dillard II of Dillard's, George Gleason of Bank of the Ozarks and Tommy May of Simmons - have had their jobs at least as long as I have had mine. I'm pleased to note that even this much shorter list includes something that the 1999 list didn't: a woman, Judy McReynolds at Arkansas Best Corp.
Clifton Beckham, USA Truck
Joe Brooks, Advanced Environmental Recycling Technologies
Dabbs Cavin, First Federal Bancshares of Arkansas
Daniel Cushman, P.A.M. Transportation Services
William Dillard II, Dillard's Inc.
Ray C. Dillon, Deltic Timber
Michael T. Duke, Wal-Mart Stores Inc.
Jeffery Gardner, Windstream
George Gleason II, Bank of the Ozarks
William "Hank" Henderson, America's Car-Mart
Scott Howe, Acxiom
J. Thomas May, Simmons First National Corp.
Judy McReynolds, Arkansas Best
John N. Roberts III, J.B. Hunt Transport Services
C. Randall Sims, Home BancShares
Donnie Smith, Tyson Foods
David Wood, Murphy Oil