University of Arkansas

Walton College

The Sam M. Walton College of Business

J. Thomas “Tommy” May


J. Thomas "Tommy" May

Chairman and CEO
Simmons First National Bank and Simmons First National Corp.
Pine Bluff, Arkansas


After serving in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1967-70, Tommy May returned to the University of Arkansas to earn a BSBA and MBA from the Walton College. He began his banking career with First National Bank of Commerce in New Orleans in 1972. Upon the formation of Exchange Bancshares Inc. a holding company in El Dorado, Ark., in 1981, he was elected president and CEO. In 1987, he became president and CEO of Simmons First National Bank and president of Simmons First National Corp. Today, the company, with assets of almost $3 billion, owns eight Arkansas community banks, which operate through 86 offices in 48 communities. It is recognized nationally as a major provider of credit card services.

May served on the University of Arkansas Board of Trustees for 10 years and as chair in 2002-03. He also served on the Campaign for the 21st Century Steering Committee, 2010 Commission, Foundation Board and Board of Advisors. In 2007, May received the University of Arkansas Chancellor's medal. He serves on the Walton College Dean's Executive Advisory Board and received the college's Lifetime Achievement Award in 2007.


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