Officers & Directors

Board of Directors

Mr. Gleason is our Chairman and Chief Executive Officer and has served the Company as Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and/or President since 1979. He holds a B.A. in Business and Economics from Hendrix College and a J.D. from the University of Arkansas.
Chairman of the Board
Chair of the Executive Committee
Member of the ALCO Committee
Member of the Loan Committee
Mr. Brown retired in April 2020 as the President and Chief Executive Officer of Southwest Power Pool (“SPP”) in Little Rock, Arkansas. SPP is one of nine Regional Transmission Organizations mandated by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to ensure reliable supplies of power, adequate transmission infrastructure and competitive wholesale prices of electricity. In fulfilling these responsibilities, SPP relies on real-time acquisition of more than 100,000 data points across the highly interconnected 14-state power grid, feeding sophisticated computer modeling to ensure reliable and efficient delivery of bulk power. Cyber security, risk management, and regulatory compliance were primary responsibilities of Mr. Brown, and due in part to his staunch focus on human capital management, SPP received recognition as Arkansas’ Best Place to Work. He served SPP in multiple capacities from 1985 to 2020, including as Senior Engineer, Director of Engineering and Operations, Vice President, Senior Vice President and Corporate Secretary. Mr. Brown holds a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Louisiana Tech University and a B.S. in Physics and Math from Ouachita Baptist University, and is a graduate of Harvard Business School’s Advanced Management Program. He served two four-year terms on the board of directors of the Electric Power Research Institute and has been active in numerous civic groups, including the Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce and as a member of Fifty for the Future.
Chair of the Compensation Committee
Member of the Executive Committee
Member of the IS Steering Committee
Ms. Cholmondeley is currently principal of The Sorrel Group, a consulting company founded by Ms. Cholmondeley in 2004 and focused on corporate strategy and corporate governance matters. She was vice president and general manager of Specialty Products at Sappi Fine Paper from 2000 through 2004. Prior to joining Sappi, Ms. Cholmondeley served in increasingly senior positions with Owens Corning (NYSE: OC), a producer of building and composite products, from 1992 through 1998. She began her career in 1971 with Arthur Andersen & Company before leaving in 1973 to pursue a series of finance and executive roles, including with International Paper Company (NYSE: IP) from 1974 through 1980, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Greater Philadelphia from 1986 through 1988, and The Faxon Company from 1988 through 1992. Ms. Cholmondeley is a NACD Certified Director, a part-time faculty member of NACD’s In-Boardroom education program and was elected to the NACD Directorship 100TM (2015). She is also a director of Terex Corporation (NYSE: TEX) and an independent trustee of Nationwide Mutual Funds, and previously served as a director of KapStone Paper and Packaging Corporation (NYSE: KS) from 2016 to 2018, Albany International Corp. (NYSE: AIN) from 2005 to 2013, Minerals Technologies Inc. (NYSE: MTX) from 2005 to 2014 and Dentsply International (Nasdaq: XRAY) from 2001 to 2016. Ms. Cholmondeley, a former C.P.A., is an alumna of Howard University and received an M.S. in Accounting from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.
Member of the ALCO Committee
Member of the Compensation Committee
Member of the Community Banking, CRA & Fair Lending Committee
Ms. Cole is the Chief Executive Officer of Cole Renwick, LLC, a family-owned real estate company based in Glendale, CA. She is also an entrepreneur and has been a limited partner in a number of investment funds. From 2010 to 2013, Ms. Cole worked as a safety and soundness, bank compliance and Community Reinvestment Act (“CRA”) regulator with the FDIC and the Office of Thrift Supervision (“OTS”) and as a member of the structured liquidation team at the Small Business Administration (“SBA”). Prior to her government service, Ms. Cole held leadership positions at Walt Disney Company (NYSE: DIS) and Eastman Kodak Company (NYSE: KODK). She currently serves on the Federal Reserve Board of San Francisco’s Economic Advisory Council and the National Association of Corporate Directors Pacific Southwest Chapter’s Board of Directors, and has previously served on the California Commission on Access to Justice, the California State Insurance Commission Diversity Task Force, and as a board member for various other non-profit, government and community organizations. Ms. Cole speaks regularly on Diversity and Inclusion issues. She holds a B.A. in Asian Religion and Western Philosophy from Boston University, a J.D. from Fordham University, and an M.B.A. from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.
Member of the Community Banking, CRA & Fair Lending Committee
Member of the Risk Committee
Mr. East is the Chairman of the Robert East Company, which actively invests in businesses and real estate. He also serves as a partner in Delta Solar, LLC, which finances, develops and installs commercial solar projects, and Sullivan Wright Technologies, LLC, a network management company offering cybersecurity and network management solutions. He was the founder of East Harding, Inc., a Little Rock, AR based construction company, where he served as Chairman and CEO until 2019. From 1999 to 2019, Mr. East was the majority owner and managing member of Advanced Cabling Systems, LLC, a full service technology integrator that grew under Mr. East’s leadership from three employees to over 200 employees and was acquired in 2018 by ADT Inc. (NYSE: ADT). Mr. East has utilized his expertise in finance and construction as a partner, developer, and contractor for numerous real estate projects during his career. He has served on the board of many community organizations, including the Little Rock Airport Commission, the Nature Conservancy, the Arkansas Cancer Research Center, the Dean’s Advisory Board of the Walton School of Business, and the Associated Builders and Contractors National Board. Mr. East also formerly served on the board of Pulaski Bank and Trust in Little Rock, AR. At the request of former Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe, he helped establish the state’s Minority Contractors Development Program to develop minority businesses in the State and insure equitable participation in construction projects by minority businesses, as well as the Arkansas Aerospace and Defense Alliance to promote and develop the state’s aerospace industry. Mr. East holds a B. A. in Finance and Administration from the University of Arkansas, where he was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Walton School of Business in 2019.
Member of the Executive Committee
Member of the Nominating and Governance Committee
Chair of the Trust Committee
Ms. Franklin is the Global Ethics and Compliance Strategy Leader for Sony Group (NYSE: SNE) where she has been responsible for Sony’s global ethics and compliance strategy and program since 2010. She also serves as the Chairperson of Sony’s Global Entertainment and Americas Region Corporate Social Responsibility Compliance Working Group where she oversees responsible sourcing and supply chain compliance for Sony’s global entertainment companies in areas such as human rights, labor conditions, health and safety, and environmental protection. Prior to joining Sony, Ms. Franklin was a Partner and Co-Chair of the Corporate Governance Group for the law firm of Boies, Schiller and Flexner, LLP, where she served as a strategic advisor to prominent clients on a wide range of issues related to mergers and acquisitions, executive compensation, corporate governance and crisis management. In 2007, she was one of twenty women selected nationally as a member of the inaugural class of the DirectWomen Board Institute, which serves as a resource for companies seeking qualified women-attorney board candidates to improve corporate governance and increase shareholder value. In 2009, she was selected as a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation in recognition of her contributions to the legal profession and community. Ms. Franklin holds a B.S. in Business Administration from Siena College, a J.D. from Albany Law School of Union University and an L.L.M. (Taxation) from New York University School of Law.
Member of the Executive Committee
Chair of the Nominating and Governance Committee
Dr. Freedberg was formerly a director of The First National Bank of Shelby, North Carolina, which was acquired by the Company in 2013. During her tenure at First National Bank, she served on the Executive, Directors’ Loan and Compliance Committees and chaired the Trust and Wealth Committee. Dr. Freedberg’s business interests include acting as advisor and co-trustee to Blanton Farms, LLC, located in Shelby, NC, which is devoted to conservation and timber cultivation, and as the lead partner of Blanton LLC, also in Shelby, NC, which develops and owns commercial real estate. Dr. Freedberg also serves as an officer and director of the Shelby Loan and Mortgage Company, which owns and invests in commercial real estate in North Carolina and Virginia. She is a trustee of the Smith College Museum Art, a former trustee of St. Patrick’s Episcopal Day School (Washington, DC), founder of the National Gallery of Art’s annual Freedberg Lecture on Italian Art, President of The Banker’s House Foundation board, a Fogg Fellow at the Harvard Art Museums, and a member of the Smithsonian Women’s Committee. She was a Samuel H. Kress Fellow and the Deputy Information Officer at the National Gallery of Art. Dr. Freedberg holds an undergraduate degree from Smith College and a MA and Ph.D. from Harvard University, where she taught in the Department of Art and Architecture.
Member of the Trust Committee
Mr. Gearhart retired in 2018 as the Executive Vice President, Global Governance and Corporate Secretary for Walmart, Inc. (“Walmart”) (NYSE: WMT), responsible for oversight of the company’s global legal, compliance, ethics and security and investigative functions, among others. Mr. Gearhart joined Walmart in 2003 as Vice President and General Counsel, Corporate Division. In 2007, he became Senior Vice President and Deputy General Counsel, and then took over as the head of the company’s legal department when he was promoted to General Counsel in 2009. Mr. Gearhart was appointed corporate secretary in 2010, and in 2012 his responsibilities were expanded to include oversight of compliance, ethics and investigations, in addition to legal. Before joining Walmart, Mr. Gearhart was a partner with Kutak Rock LLP, practicing in the corporate, securities and mergers and acquisitions areas. Mr. Gearhart is also a director of Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE: CCL) and Mercy Hospital, Central Region. Mr. Gearhart holds a B.S.B.A. and a J.D. from the University of Arkansas.
Member of the Audit Committee
Member of the Loan Committee
Member of the Trust Committee
Member of the IS Steering Committee
Mr. Kenny has more than 35 years of experience in equity trading and risk management. He is a member of the National Association of Corporate Directors (“NACD”) and was credentialed as an NACD Board Leadership Fellow in 2020 and nominated for the NACD Directorship 100 award in both 2020 and 2021. He is an independent market strategist and founder of Kenny’s Commentary, a subscriber-based, market-focused weekly newsletter and website. In 2017, Mr. Kenny founded Strategic Board Solutions LLC, an advisory service focused on addressing public and non-public company board needs, including the director search function. In 2019, he joined Founders First Capital Partners LLC, located in San Diego, CA, as a Strategic Advisor. From 2016 until 2018, Mr. Kenny was the Senior Market Strategist for the Global Markets Advisory Group, a consultancy offering financial market advisory services. From 2014 to 2015, Mr. Kenny was the Chief Market Strategist for Clearpool Group, a fintech company offering agency-only execution services to institutional clients which was acquired by the Bank of Montreal (NYSE: BMO). From 2006 to 2013, he was Managing Director of sales and trading and Chief Global Market Strategist at Knight Capital Group. From 1986 to 2006, Mr. Kenny founded and served as principal of Peter C. Kenny LLC, a NYSE member firm. His career at the NYSE also includes six years as NYSE Senior Floor Official. Mr. Kenny was a member of the board of directors of Imprimis Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Nasdaq: IMMY) from 2013 to 2014. He has degrees in Economics and Political Science from Warren Wilson College in North Carolina.
Member of the ALCO Committee
Member of the Compensation Committee
Member of the Executive Committee
Member of the Nominating and Governance Committee
Member of the Loan Committee
Mr. Koefoed serves as the Chief Financial Officer for OneStream Software LLC, a corporate performance management software company. Prior to joining OneStream in November 2019, Mr. Koefoed served as the Chief Financial Officer for Blue Nile, Inc., an ecommerce retailer of diamonds and fine jewelry. Prior to joining Blue Nile in 2018, Mr. Koefoed served as the Chief Financial Officer and Partner of BCG Digital Ventures, part of Boston Consulting Group. Prior to joining BCG Digital Ventures in 2016, Mr. Koefoed served as the Chief Financial Officer for Puppet, Inc., an IT automation software development company. Prior to joining Puppet in 2013, Mr. Koefoed served in a variety of roles at Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ: MSFT) beginning in 2005, including as CFO of its Skype division, General Manager of Investor Relations and General Manager of IT Finance & Strategy. In these roles, Mr. Koefoed has been responsible for oversight of human resources, including recruiting, compensation, performance management, diversity and inclusion, human resources information systems, and other employee matters, as well as operations, legal and other functions. Earlier in his career, he held leadership roles at Hewlett-Packard Company, PricewaterhouseCoopers and Arthur Andersen. Mr. Koefoed serves on the board of directors of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Southeastern Michigan. He is a C.P.A. (inactive) and received his B.S. and M.B.A. degrees from the University of California, Berkeley.
Chair of the Audit Committee
Member of the Executive Committee
Member of the IS Steering Committee
Mr. Orndorff is the Chief Investment Officer of Vulcan Capital, the multi-billion dollar investment arm of Vulcan Inc., a private company founded in 1986 by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen. Prior to joining Vulcan in 2016, Mr. Orndorff was the Senior Portfolio Manager for Western Asset Management from 2010 to 2016, where he oversaw multi-sector, unconstrained and absolute return portfolios. From 2010 to 2015, Mr. Orndorff was a member of the board of directors for Mercer Advisors, where he advised clients on business, investment, marketing and sales strategy. For the first 20 years of his investment career, Mr. Orndorff held various senior leadership and portfolio management roles at Payden & Rygel and Northern Trust. Since 2019, he has served on the Board of Directors of Transparent Financial Systems, Inc., a technology company that partners with banks and other businesses to create innovative secure settlement solutions. Mr. Orndorff holds a B.S. in Finance from Miami University and an M.B.A. in Finance and International Business from The University of Chicago. He holds the Chartered Financial Analyst® designation.
Member of the Audit Committee
Mr. Sadoff is the Chief Information Officer of Cantor Fitzgerald L.P., one of the world’s leading financial services firms. From 2018 to 2020, he was the Chief Information Officer of Fenics, a business of BGC Partners, Inc., which is a controlled subsidiary of Cantor Fitzgerald L.P. Prior to joining BGC Partners, he was a Managing Director for Bank of America Merrill Lynch (NYSE: BAC) from 2013 to 2017, overseeing technology globally for Central Risk Book, Electronic Trading, Sales, Research and Capital Markets. Prior to that, Mr. Sadoff was Executive Vice President and Global Head of Operations, Services and Technology, for Knight Capital Group from 2002 to 2013, Chief Technology Officer of BondBook, an electronic trading platform, from 2000 to 2001, and in a variety of leadership roles at Merrill Lynch and Lehman Brothers from 1990 to 2000. Mr. Sadoff has served on the advisory board for Corvil Ltd., the Technology/Operations Customer Advisory Board for Thomson Reuters, as a member of the SIFMA Operations and Technology Steering Committee and as a past board member of Direct Edge Holdings LLC and Pico Quantitative Trading LLC. He has been named to the Institutional Investor Tech 50 list and one of the 10 most influential CIOs by Securities Technology Monitor, received an American Financial Technology Award for Best Global Deployment, and been ranked in the top 15 on the InformationWeek 500 for two consecutive years. Mr. Sadoff holds a B.S. in Computer Science, an M.S. in Electrical Engineering, and a D.Sc. in Computer Science, all from Washington University in St. Louis.
Member of the Risk Committee
Member of the IS Steering Committee
Mr. Whipple serves as the President of Horizon Timber Services, Inc., a timber management company, a post he has held since 2004. He served as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Summit Bancorp, Inc. and Summit Bank from 2000 to 2014, when both entities were acquired by and merged into the Company’s former holding company and the Company, respectively. Mr. Whipple also serves as Chairman of the Ross Foundation, a charitable trust that manages over 63,000 acres of timber land for conservation and charitable purposes, and as managing general partner of Horizon Capital Partners, LLLP, a family limited partnership that manages 67,000 acres of timber land. Mr. Whipple has over 35 years of banking experience, much of which was acquired as an executive officer and director of various banking institutions. Mr. Whipple earned a B.S.B.A. from Henderson State University and an M.B.A. from the University of Arkansas.
Member of the Executive Committee
Member of the Loan Committee
Chair of the Risk Committee

Executive Officers

Chairman/Chief Executive Officer
Mr. Gleason is our Chairman and Chief Executive Officer and has served the Company as Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and/or President since 1979. He holds a B.A. in Business and Economics from Hendrix College and a J.D. from the University of Arkansas.
Chief Financial Officer
Greg McKinney, Chief Financial Officer. Mr. McKinney joined the Bank in 2003 and served as Executive Vice President and Controller prior to assuming the role of Chief Financial Officer and Chief Accounting Officer on December 31, 2010. From 2001 to 2003 Mr. McKinney served as a member of the financial leadership team of a publicly-traded software development and data management company. From 1991 to 2000 he held various positions with a big-four public accounting firm, leaving as senior audit manager when the firm closed its Little Rock office. Mr. McKinney is a C.P.A. (inactive) and holds a B.S. in Accounting from Louisiana Tech University.
Chief Credit and Administrative Officer
Tim Hicks, Chief Credit and Administrative Officer. Prior to assuming the role of Chief Credit and Administrative Officer in October 2020, Mr. Hicks served as Chief Administrative Officer & Executive Director of Investor Relations since July 2017. Mr. Hicks joined the Bank in 2009 and served as Senior Vice President, Corporate Finance from 2009 to 2012, Executive Vice President, Corporate Finance from 2012 to 2016, and Executive Vice President and Chief of Staff from 2016 through July 2017. From 2006 to 2009, Mr. Hicks served as director of investor relations and assistant treasurer of a publicly traded telecommunications company. Prior to 2006, Mr. Hicks held various positions with a big-four public accounting firm, leaving as a senior audit manager. Mr. Hicks is a C.P.A. and holds a B.A. in Business and Economics from Hendrix College.
President
Brannon Hamblen, President. Prior to assuming the role of President in July 2021, Mr. Hamblen served as President and Chief Operating Officer – Real Estate Specialties Group (“RESG”) since 2018. Mr. Hamblen joined the Bank in 2008 and served as Senior Vice President, Originations from 2008 to 2012, Director of Asset Management – RESG from 2012 to 2017, and Chief Operating Officer – RESG in 2017 until he was named President and Chief Operating Officer – RESG in 2018. Prior to joining the Bank, Mr. Hamblen worked in the real estate consulting practices of Ernst & Young/Kenneth Leventhal and KPMG, and in acquisitions, development, asset management, and capital markets with R.M. Crowe Company, a large Dallas-based, privately owned real estate owner/operator. Mr. Hamblen holds a B.S. in Agricultural Economics and a M.S. in Land Economics & Real Estate from Texas A&M University.
Chief Banking Officer
Cynthia “Cindy” Wolfe, Chief Banking Officer. Prior to assuming the role of Chief Banking Officer, Ms. Wolfe served as Deputy Director of Community Banking since 2015 overseeing the Bank’s Middle Market Commercial Real Estate business unit and offices across North Carolina and South Carolina. Ms. Wolfe joined the Bank in 1997, opened the Bank’s Charlotte loan production office in 2001, and served as Senior Vice President – Lending from 2001 to 2005, Executive Vice President – Lending from 2005 to 2012, Charlotte Market President from 2012 to 2014, and Carolinas Division President from 2014 to 2018. Prior to joining the Bank, Ms. Wolfe held various positions with national banks in commercial lending, operations, project management and internal audit. Ms. Wolfe holds a B.A. in Business Administration from Queens University of Charlotte and is a Certified Commercial Investment Member.
Chief Lending Officer

Alan Jessup, Chief Lending Officer. Prior to assuming the role of Chief Lending Officer, Mr. Jessup served as Deputy Director of Community Banking since 2015 overseeing the Bank’s Agricultural Lending Division and offices across South Arkansas, Alabama, Florida and Georgia. He joined the Bank in 2008 and served as Saline County President from 2008 to 2011 and South Arkansas President from 2011 to 2015. Mr. Jessup holds a B.S. in Finance from Arkansas State University.

Chief Risk Officer
Scott Trapani, Chief Risk Officer since March 2019. Prior to joining the Bank, Mr. Trapani served as Executive Vice President and Chief Risk Officer for Hilltop Holdings Inc. (NYSE: HTH) in Dallas, Texas from 2015 through 2019. Mr. Trapani served as Senior Vice President and Chief Risk Officer for the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas from 2013 through 2015 and as Chief Compliance Officer for Invesco, Ltd. in Atlanta, Georgia from 2008 through 2013. Earlier in his career, Mr. Trapani held senior roles in compliance and risk management with SunTrust Bank, GE Capital Corporation, BearingPoint Consulting and the FDIC. Mr. Trapani is a C.F.A. and holds a B.S. in Finance from Arizona State University.
Managing Director - Trust and Wealth
Jennifer Junker, Managing Director, Trust and Wealth since February 2015. Prior to joining the Bank, she served as Fiduciary Director and then as Co-Leader of Trust Advisory Services and Trust Director for a national financial services firm from 2011 through December 2014. From 2006 to 2011 she was in private practice as an attorney concentrating in trust administration and high net worth estate planning. She also held the position of Senior Counsel for a national financial services firm from 2000 through 2006, and as an associate attorney for two law firms in Florida and Minnesota concentrating on legal issues involving trust and wealth management from 1995 through 2000. Ms. Junker holds a B.A. in English Literature and Communications from Wake Forest University as well as a J.D. from the University of Florida, College of Law.
Chief Accounting Officer
Stan Thomas, Chief Accounting Officer since January 2020. Mr. Thomas joined the Bank in 2011 and served as Senior Vice President/Director of Financial Reporting from 2011 to 2015 and Executive Vice President/Director of Financial Reporting from 2015 to 2019 prior to assuming the role of Chief Accounting Officer. From 2008 to 2011, Mr. Thomas was a senior audit manager with a regional accounting firm. Prior to 2008, Mr. Thomas held various positions with big-four accounting firms, leaving as a senior audit manager. Mr. Thomas is a C.P.A and holds a B.S. in Accounting and an M.B.A from Louisiana Tech University.
General Counsel and Corporate Secretary
Helen W. Brown, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary. Prior to assuming the role of General Counsel in February 2020, Ms. Brown served as the General Counsel Corporate Governance and Corporate Secretary from July 2018 to January 2020. Ms. Brown joined the Bank in November 2013 as General Counsel Corporate Finance. Prior to joining the Bank, Ms. Brown was a Partner at Bass, Berry & Sims PLC in the firm’s Corporate and Securities practice group. While in private practice, Ms. Brown focused on capital markets transactions, mergers and acquisitions and strategic investments, as well as advising companies on a variety of corporate governance and securities law matters. Ms. Brown received her Juris Doctor degree from the University of Arkansas School of Law, summa cum laude, and her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Arkansas, cum laude.
Chief Retail Banking Officer
Carmen McClennon, Chief Retail Banking Officer. As Chief Retail Banking Officer, Ms. McClennon oversees the Bank’s digital banking, retail branches, customer care centers and corporate marketing and communications. Ms. McClennon joined the Bank in July 2019 and served as Executive Vice President and Director of Marketing Strategies before assuming her current role in December 2019. Prior to joining the Bank, she led customer and product strategy at First Citizens Bank from 2017 to 2019 and was the Director, Integrated Channels at Key Bank from 2015 to 2017, where she led the consumer bank integration when Key Bank acquired First Niagara Bank. Ms. McClennon has over two decades of banking experience in leadership roles managing retail, product and channel strategy, customer experience and digital banking supporting national and multi-national financial institutions. She holds a B.A. from the University of Victoria and an M.B.A. from Dalhousie University.