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Arkansas Business Power List 2016: Retail

3 min read

Roger Collins, 67

Chairman and CEO
Harps Food Stores Inc., Springdale
Roger Collins has a long history with Harps Food, which itself has a long and colorful history in northwest Arkansas. Collins, a former CPA who grew up in Odessa, Texas, and graduated from Rice University, joined the independent grocery chain 30 years ago as CFO. He became executive vice president in 1995 and was promoted to president and CEO in 2000. Harps, which began as Harps Cash Grocery, opened by Harvard and Floy Harp in Springdale in 1930, purchased a 10-store chain in 1995. Under Collins’ leadership, it underwent a leveraged buyout with employees purchasing stock from the Harp family and company management. With 78 stores in Arkansas, Oklahoma and Missouri and $708 million in the fiscal year that ended in August 2015, Harps is the largest employee-owned company headquartered in Arkansas.

William Dillard II, 71

Chairman and CEO
Dillard’s Inc., Little Rock
The past couple of decades have been a roller-coaster ride for William Dillard II and his family-run upscale retailer, Dillard’s Inc. In that time, Dillard has been called the company’s ruin and its savior, and the stock price has gyrated from $2.50 in 2008 to $142 last year. His namesake father founded the company as a five-and-dime store in Nashville, Arkansas, in 1938. The son joined Dillard’s in 1967, became president and COO in 1977 and rose to chairman after his father’s death in 2002. Known as an innovator in the computerization of retail inventory, Dillard now presides over Arkansas’ fifth-largest public company by income. Net income was $269.4 million for the year that ended Jan. 30 on sales of $6.6 billion at almost 300 stores. Dillard is a graduate of the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, where he was a 2016 inductee into the Arkansas Business Hall of Fame, and he earned an MBA from Harvard University.

Doug McMillon, 49

President and CEO
Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Bentonville
Doug McMillon may run the No. 1 company on the Fortune 500, but he was so awed when he became CEO in 2014 that he couldn’t immediately sit behind his desk. “This is Sam Walton’s office,” he reverently told his predecessor, referring to the legendary founder of Wal-Mart. McMillon, a Jonesboro native who is only the fourth CEO since Walton, was a teenage hourly associate for Wal-Mart before becoming an assistant manager of a store in Tulsa. After running Sam’s Club, an operating segment of Wal-Mart, McMillon became president and CEO of Wal-Mart International. He now leads the world’s largest private workforce, with 2.2 million employees worldwide, and has emphasized the recent implementation of a $10 hourly minimum wage for all store employees. McMillon is a graduate of the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville and holds an MBA from the University of Tulsa. Wal-Mart, with revenue of $482.1 billion in the fiscal year that ended Jan. 31, would rank 28th in the world in GDP if it were a country, nestled behind Norway and in front of Austria.

Gregory B. Penner, 46

Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Bentonville
Greg Penner is the first chairman of Wal-Mart not to be named Walton. But he is still carrying on a family tradition. He inherited the role of chairman from his father-in-law, S. Robson Walton, who is the oldest child of founder Sam Walton. Penner, founder of investment managing firm Madrone Capital Partners, is married to Rob Walton’s daughter Carrie and is only the third board chairman in Wal-Mart history. Over 20 years, Penner has been senior vice president of finance and strategy for Walmart.com and a member of the Wal-Mart board since 2008. He holds a degree in international economics from Georgetown University and received an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business in 1997.

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