David Cheesewright, 51, has been appointed executive vice president, president and chief executive officer of the International division of Wal-Mart Stores Inc., effective Feb. 1, 2014. Cheesewright will succeed CEO-elect Doug McMillon. Since September 2011, Cheesewright has served as head of a regional management team responsible for Wal-Mart’s retail operations in Canada, the United Kingdom and Sub-Saharan Africa.

Simmons First salutes chairman and CEO Tommy May

J. Thomas May is set to step down from his post as chairman and CEO of Simmons First National Corp. on Jan. 1, 2014. CEO-elect George Makris will assume the top post after a year-long transition. May will become the inaugural chairman of the Simmons First Foundation, a charitable giving extension of the bank that will distribute "Tommy May Make A Difference" grants to local community projects.

Bank of the Ozarks acquiring Texas bank

Bank of the Ozarks has entered into a definitive agreement and plan of merger with Bancshares Inc. of Houston, Texas. Under the terms of the agreement, Bank of the Ozarks will pay $23 million for all outstanding shares of Bancshares common stock, subject to certain conditions and potential adjustments. The transaction is expected to close during the first quarter of 2014.

Arvest Bank completes acquisition of National Bank of Arkansas

A bank deal announced in October has closed. Arvest Bank announced that its acquisition of National Bank of Arkansas (NBA) through NBA’s holding company, National Banking Corp., has been completed. The conversion of NBA accounts and operations into Arvest will not be completed until early February.

Walton Family Foundation grants $2 million to UA for diversity education

The Walton Family Foundation announced a $2.1 million grant to the University of Arkansas to fund several programs within the College Access Initiative and the Center For Multicultural and Diversity Education. The funds will directly benefit students from Phillips County and those who have graduated from public charter schools around the state. As part of the program, university officials will expand ACT training for high school students and will also increase recruiting efforts at certain schools.

Ben E. Keith to expand, grow jobs

Ben E. Keith Company announced it has purchased 70 acres in North Little Rock and will build a $60 million, 350,000 sq. ft. distribution center by 2016. The food service distributor will add 80 new jobs to its state work force of 275 after the expansion is completed.

AT&T adding jobs

Telecom provider AT&T said it is presently hiring 50 workers for open positions in Arkansas, including 30 new jobs. The positions include openings at retail stores, technicians to help with U-verse installation, and sales consultants and customer service representatives for the company’s call centers. AT&T already has hired about 430 Arkansans so far this year, the company said.

Nabholz Construction makes chairman, CEO change

Nabholz Construction Services announced that CEO Bill Hannah has been named chairman of the board and CFO Greg J. Williams will step into the role of chief executive officer, effective Jan. 1, 2014. Williams, 54, has served as CFO for the past 18 years. He has been responsible not only for Nabholz’s finances, but also for the company’s human resources, legal and risk management, IT and wellness programs.

Veach, Hillman re-elected to Farm Bureau leadership

Randy Veach and Rich Hillman will continue as president and vice president, respectively, of the Arkansas Farm Bureau, the state’s largest agricultural advocacy group. Veach, 63, of Manila (Mississippi County) begins a sixth term as president. He is Arkansas Farm Bureau’s 10th president since its creation in 1935. Veach farms cotton, soybeans, rice, wheat, corn and milo in and around the community of Lost Cane near Manila.