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Wal-Mart’s McMillon Tops Compensation List of 100 Arkansas Public Company Execs

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The top man at the world’s largest company is again the highest-paid executive in Arkansas.

C. Douglas McMillon, CEO of Wal-Mart Stores Inc., has returned to the No. 1 spot on the annual list of executive compensation at publicly traded companies headquartered in the state. McMillon, whose total compensation topped $19.8 million in 2015, had been displaced on last year’s list by Gregory S. Foran, who benefited from stock awards granted when he was named executive vice president in 2014.

McMillon and Foran, No. 4 this year, are among six current Wal-Mart executives ranked among the 10 highest-paid executives on this week’s list. It ranks executives of 20 publicly traded companies headquartered in Arkansas by total compensation as disclosed in the companies’ most recent proxy statements. In most cases, the fiscal year ended Dec. 31, 2015; exceptions are Tyson Foods Inc. (Oct. 3, 2015); Dillard’s Inc. (Jan. 30); Wal-Mart (Jan. 31); Acxiom Corp. (March 31); and America’s Car-Mart Inc. (April 30).

Get the List: Access the full list of public company executive compensation.

Sandwiched between McMillon and Foran are:

  • Roger W. Jenkins, CEO of Murphy Oil Corp. of El Dorado, which recorded the lowest net income of the 20 companies last year — a $2.27 billion loss, thanks to the cratering of petroleum prices; and
  • Donnie Smith, CEO of Tyson Foods, the second-largest company in the state in terms of both revenue ($41.4 billion) and net income ($1.2 billion).

In a numerically satisfying coincidence, exactly 100 executives are ranked this year, up from 94 in 2015 mainly because the roster of public companies issuing regular proxy statements grew by one: Communications Sales & Leasing Inc. of Little Rock, which was spun off of Windstream Holdings Inc. in April 2015.

The total compensation for the 100 executives totaled $269.3 million, and the average of just under $2.7 million was down from $2.96 million last year.

Arkansas Business’ list breaks down total compensation into salary, the calculated value of stock and stock options awarded, bonuses or other cash performance pay, plus any other compensation reported to the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission.

Only about 18 percent ($48.7 million) of the aggregate compensation came in the form of base salary, reflecting the preference for performance-based compensation of proxy advisory firms like Institutional Shareholder Services Inc. of New York.

Compensation totals ranged from McMillon’s $19.8 million to the $160,000 annualized base salary reported for Michelle Dillard, the ninth member of the founding family to join the payroll of the Little Rock retailer.

Most of the companies reveal the pay packages only of the top managers — what the SEC calls “named executive officers” — but Dillard’s Inc. also discloses the compensation of a sister (Denise Mahaffy) and children of CEO William Dillard II (William III) and President Alex Dillard (Alexandra, Annemarie and Michelle). Executive Vice Presidents Mike Dillard and Drue Matheny, brother and sister of William II and Alex Dillard, are also named executive officers.

Total compensation for the nine family members totaled $12.5 million last year. That was almost exactly the amount that John Tyson, chairman of Tyson Foods of Springdale, realized by exercising stock options last year.

Tyson also collected compensation of $8.75 million, placing him No. 7 on the list.

Cash realized by the exercise of stock options is reported on the list but is not included in the compensation total. Tyson was among only 29 of the 100 executives who exercised options during 2015; the other 28 divided up almost $48.6 million.

Kirk Thompson, chairman of J.B. Hunt Transport Inc. of Lowell, No. 30 on the list with total compensation of $2.27 million, realized the second-highest payday by exercising stock options: an additional $7.7 million.

Others in the top 10 are three executive vice presidents at Wal-Mart: No. 5 Neil M. Ashe, No. 6 David Cheesewright and No. 10 Rosalind G. Brewer, the highest-paid woman on the list. M. Brett Biggs, No. 8 with total compensation of $8.6 million in 2015, was promoted to chief financial officer upon the retirement in January of No. 23 Charles M. Holley Jr.

Noel M. White, senior group vice president for Tyson Foods, landed at No. 9.

10 Women

Among the 100 executives on the list are 10 women, starting with No. 10 Brewer, who heads Wal-Mart’s Sam’s Club division. Half of them are the Dillard women:

  • No. 42 Drue Matheny;
  • No. 73 Denise Mahaffy;
  • No. 93 Alexandra Dillard;
  • No. 96 Annemarie Dillard; and
  • No. 100 Michelle Dillard.

Michelle Dillard and No. 51 Kelli M. Hammock, a senior vice president at Murphy Oil Corp., are newcomers to the list. The other female executives are:

  • No. 31 Judy R. McReynolds, CEO of ArcBest Corp. of Fort Smith;
  • No. 34 Shelley Simpson, executive vice president of J.B. Hunt; and
  • No. 35 Mindy K. West, chief financial officer of Murphy USA Inc. of El Dorado, the retail spinoff of Murphy Oil.

New Names

Biggs, Hammock and Michelle Dillard were among 22 new names on this year’s list.

Communications Sales & Leasing, the Windstream spinoff, contributed three newbies:

  • No. 12 Kenny Gunderman, president and CEO;
  • No. 48 Mark A. Wallace, EVP and CFO; and
  • No. 55 Daniel L. Heard, SVP and general counsel.

Other newcomers are:

  • No. 27 John Eckart, CFO of Murphy Oil;
  • No. 29 Richard E. Erwin, president and general manager of audience solutions for Acxiom of Little Rock;
  • No. 36 Nicholas Hobbs, president of dedicated contract services for J.B. Hunt;
  • No. 44 Brian S. Davis, CFO of Home BancShares Inc. of Conway, parent company of Centennial Bank;
  • No. 46 Keith S. Caldwell, SVP and controller for Murphy Oil;
  • No. 47 Kevin Hester, chief lending officer for Home BancShares;
  • No. 49 S. Travis May, president and general manager of connectivity for Acxiom;
  • No. 63 Timothy D. Thorne, president of ArcBest’s Arkansas Best Freight division;
  • No. 64 Phillip R. Watts and No. 69 Chris B. Johnson, co-principal financial officers for Dillard’s;
  • No. 66 David M. Redmond, president of consumer and SMB for Windstream;
  • No. 75 David R. Cobb, VP and controller for ArcBest;
  • Mark McFatridge, CEO of Bear State Financial Inc., who came in at No. 82 because his total compensation of almost $620,000 represented only three months of work leading the holding company for Bear State Bank; and
  • No. 91 Christian C. Rhodes, VP and chief information officer for USA Truck Inc. of Van Buren.

Two others made their first and last appearances:

  • No. 58 Thomas M. Glaser, who served as interim president and CEO of USA Truck after the resignation of No. 37 John Simone in 2015. Glaser was succeeded by Randy Rogers in January, and Simone died of lung cancer in March.
  • No. 78 Joseph Henderson III, who resigned as VP of fuels for Murphy USA in December.

Already Gone

Holley, Glaser, Simone and Henderson aren’t the only names on the list who have since left their positions. Others who are already gone include:

  • No. 59 David L. Bartlett, who retired in January as president and chief banking officer for Simmons First National Corp. of Pine Bluff;
  • No. 77 Russell Overla, who resigned in September as executive vice president of Truckload Operations for USA Truck;
  • No. 90 Michael R. Weindel Jr., another USA Truck EVP who resigned in February;
  • No. 94 Kevin G. Fitzgerald, who retired as EVP and CFO for Murphy Oil Corp.; and
  • Randy Mayor, who came in at No. 99 after retiring as CFO for Home BancShares in July 2015.
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