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Northwest Arkansas Council Names Nelson Peacock CEO

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The Northwest Arkansas Council named Nelson Peacock as its CEO on Tuesday.

Peacock, 47, has met with staff members at the council, a private nonprofit, and will take office in July. Peacock replaces Mike Malone, who was CEO from 2006 until he resigned last year to work for Runway Group LLC in Bentonville.

Nick Hobbs, the president of the Dedicated Contract Services at J.B. Hunt Transport Services Inc. of  Lowell, chaired the search committee that selected Peacock over six candidates who were interviewed. Hobbs said the search, aided by a search firm, was nationwide before choosing Peacock, who is the senior vice president of government relations for the University of California system.

“Nelson clearly rose to the top,” Hobbs said. “We’re really excited. We had the bar set high. We knew exactly what we were looking for and found the perfect individual.”

Mike Harvey, the council’s COO, served as interim CEO after Malone’s resignation and interviewed for the CEO position. Harvey will remain with the council as COO, and Peacock opened his remarks by thanking Harvey for his assistance during the transition.

Peacock grew up in McCrory and earned a law degree from the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. He served as legal counsel for then-Sen. Joe Biden and was appointed by President Obama to lead the Office of Legislative Affairs for the Department of Homeland Security.

Peacock said his priorities as CEO will be to develop strategic communications to help tell the region’s story, to expand relations between the local governments and the council and to “foster” the innovation culture of northwest Arkansas.

“There’s a lot of positive energy,” Peacock said. “This is a unique opportunity.”

Peacock said the region is an attractive place to work because the cities of the area have a desire to work together, as do the various companies. 

“There is a common purpose,” Peacock said. 

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