In separate announcements, Simmons Bank has purchased the Acxiom Corp. office tower in downtown Little Rock, and Acxiom will move its corporate headquarters to Conway – where it was originally based.
Terms of the deal between Simmons and Acxiom were not disclosed.
Acxiom announced plans for the multi-million dollar building in April 1999, promising to add 700 jobs and create additional synergy in downtown Little Rock’s River Market. Pine Bluff-based Simmons First now occupies space in the tallest skyscraper in downtown Little Rock, the former TCBY Tower.
Simmons, which was founded in Pine Bluff in 1903, has in recent years grown through acquisitions and now has banking operations in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Tennessee with a workforce of more than 1,900.
George Makris, Jr., Simmons First National Corporation’s chairman and CEO, said acquiring the Acxiom property is a “logical step” in dealing with the bank’s growing operation in central Arkansas. Since 2013, Simmons acquired Metropolitan National Bank and Delta Trust and Bank, with both having a sizeable footprint in the area.
“During our expansion in Little Rock we have maintained many of the locations we acquired through mergers, dispersing associates throughout the city,” Makris said in a statement. “This new primary location will allow us to consolidate offices in order to gain logistical and systemic efficiencies. Additionally, it will provide room for continued growth. The building’s proximity to our corporate headquarters in Pine Bluff and access to transportation hubs will make travel easier for our associates to and from all of our locations. The use of the excellent training facilities and the media production studio will enhance our communication efforts throughout our growing footprint.”
Caroline Makris, Simmons vice president-manager of marketing and communications, said the consolidation in Little Rock will not include employees with the bank’s Pine Bluff headquarters. She said Simmons “is focused on staying in Pine Bluff. We will always maintain that banking presence in southeast Arkansas.”
Makris did not have a number as to how many Simmons employees would move to the Acxiom building. She said the moves will happen in phases as the building is remodeled and repurposed. She said most of the initial moves will happen in the next 12 months. Future growth, organic and through acquisition, will dictate other personnel moves into the building.
“The great news is that it gives us space not only for right now, but it gives us room to grow,” Makris said.
All Acxiom employees working in Little Rock will remain with the company, with some working from home, some remaining in Little Rock, but a majority to work in Conway, according to Acxiom’s statement. With the change, the company said it will have around 1,500 employees in Conway, and “renovations are planned to further enhance the workplace experience for the current and incoming associates,” the company noted.
“As Acxiom has expanded its locations and service offerings to meet the needs of clients around the world, we have made it a priority to provide our associates with modern workspaces that foster engagement, collaboration and teamwork,” said Acxiom CEO Scott Howe. “This relocation will provide all central Arkansas associates with a more collaborative environment to work together and meet the needs of our global client base.”