Proxy Shows Compensation Boost for George Makris in 2015

Proxy Shows Compensation Boost for George Makris in 2015
George Makris

The annual compensation of the top executive at Simmons First National Corp. of Pine Bluff doubled last year, according to the company's proxy statement, filed Monday.

George Makris Jr., chairman and CEO of the $7.5 billion-asset bank holding company, received total 2015 compensation of $3.1 million.

The largest components of the increase were boosts in stock option awards valued at $591,759, stock awards of $538,861 and future payouts of $299,420 associated with the company's non-equity incentive plan.

Total compensation for Robert Fehlman, chief financial officer, and Marty Casteel, senior executive vice president, nearly doubled to almost $1.5 million.

As with Makris, stock option awards, stock awards and non-equity incentive plan compensation were the biggest contributors to the gains for Fehlman and Casteel.

Makris received a salary of $595,000 last year compared to $502,500 in 2014, an 18.4 percent gain. Fehlman and Casteel each received $334,000 in 2015, reflecting raises of about 8.9 percent for Fehlman and 9.8 percent for Casteel.

Matthew Reddin, executive vice president, received total compensation of nearly $1.1 million during 2015. Reddin joined Simmons in February 2015 after leaving Little Rock's Bank of the Ozarks Inc. where he was director of community bank lending.

The two largest Simmons shareholders are BlackRock Inc. of New York, which holds an 8.88 percent stake worth $117.5 million; and The Vanguard Group of Malvern, Pennsylvania, with a 5.14 percent stake worth $67.2 million.

The proxy statement also disclosed that the Simmons board of directors is contracting from 13 members to 11. The move is following the exodus of two directors.

Harry Ryburn, 79, a retired orthodontist, is stepping down after 40 years as a Simmons director. David Bartlett, 64, retired from the company as a director and president and chief banking officer on Jan. 15.

Bartlett's total compensation climbed from $915,697 in 2014 to more than $1.1 million last year. Bartlett's 2015 base salary was $382,960.

The Simmons annual shareholders meeting will be held at the banquet hall of the Pine Bluff Convention Center on at 7:45 p.m. Tuesday, April 19.