Effective Feb. 1, 2013, Darrin Williams, a lawyer and current Democratic Arkansas State Representative, will be the new CEO of Southern Bancorp, Inc.

Southern is a community development bank that works with underserved communities in the mid-South.

“Darrin’s financial skills, legal experience in securities and financial regulation and history of advocating for the rights of the disadvantaged in both his law practice and his political career make him the perfect choice to lead Southern Bancorp in its mission to build communities and change lives,” said Walter Smiley, current CEO and board chairman of Southern Bancorp, Inc.

Williams is a principal at the law firm of Carney Williams Bates Pulliam & Bowman PLLC, where his work focuses on protecting consumers.

“My career focus of protecting consumers from the abuses of Wall Street banks has prepared me well to show how banking should and can be done to help communities and people,” said Williams. “I don’t know of a better bank to make that point than Southern.”

Williams has been a member of the Arkansas General Assembly since 2008 and was selected as the first black speaker-designate of the Arkansas House in March 2012 when Democrats controlled the lower chamber, a position he lost in November 2012 when Republicans gained control of the chamber for the first time since Reconstruction.

“I look forward to joining the team at Southern and continuing to build upon its fine work of transforming communities through strategic investments in people and their dreams for a better tomorrow,” Williams said.

“Adding Darrin to our senior management team positions the company to achieve great progress in the communities we are dedicated to serving.  Darrin joins John Olaimey, who serves as president and CEO of Southern Bancorp Bank, and Tanya Wright, who serves as group president of Southern Bancorp, Inc. and CEO of nonprofit affiliate Southern Bancorp Community Partners,” says Smiley.

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