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Stephen Tipton Named CEO of Centennial Bank; Kevin Hester Named President

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Stephen Tipton has been promoted from chief operating officer to CEO of Centennial Bank of Conway, stepping into a role held by Tracy French since 2015.

In a related move, Chief Lending Officer Kevin Hester was named president of Centennial Bank and president of Home BancShares, the $22.84 billion-asset lender’s parent company. French had held the role of president.

French will remain as chair of Centennial Bank with a focus on special projects, Home BancShares said in a news release. John Allison will remain as executive chair and CEO of the publicly traded company (NYSE: HOMB).

In a statement, Tipton thanked Home BancShares’ board of directors for their vote of confidence, saying, “Over the past 18 years, I have been blessed to work closely with Tracy French and John Allison, as our bank has transformed into one of the premier financial institutions in the United States. I am honored to work alongside our leadership team and nearly 2,700 associates as we continue our mission of consistently exceeding the expectations of our customers and shareholders while enriching the communities we serve.”

Tipton joined Centennial Bank in 2006. He held roles including director of credit risk management and regional vice president before he was appointed chief operating officer in 2015. He holds a bachelor’s in business administration from the University of Arkansas.

Hester has been with the bank since 1998, when it was established in Conway by Allison and Robert “Bunny” Adcock Jr. as First State Bank. Hester became chief lending officer of Centennial Bank in 2010. He holds a bachelor’s in accounting from the University of Central Arkansas and is an honor graduate of the National Commercial Lending School in Norman, Oklahoma. He is also a board member of Centennial Bank.

Allison said the leadership changes reflect the company’s “deep bench in terms of talent and experience of the management team.”

“I view this shift as an opportunity to effectively utilize the depth of our management team in a way that sets us up for the future,” he said. “This group spans four decades and embodies over 130 years of banking experience and has worked together for many years and will continue to work together each day to ensure that Centennial Bank remains one of the best banks in America.”

Centennial Bank has 76 branches in Arkansas, 78 branches in Florida, 58 branches in Texas, five branches in Alabama and one branch in New York City.


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