Cranford Johnson Robinson Woods, Arkansas’ largest advertising, marketing and public relations firm, has named Darin Gray as President of the firm.
Wayne Woods will continue to serve as Chairman and CEO. Gray will assume his duties immediately and will continue to live in Northwest Arkansas where the agency has an office location. CJRW is headquartered in Little Rock.
A video interview with Woods and Gray appears at the bottom of this post.
On February 3, Gray announced that the company he founded in 2004, Gray Matters, LLC, of Fayetteville, had been placed in a family trust to be administered by his wife, Tami. In 1997, Gray began serving as President and Publisher of the Northwest Arkansas Business Journal and its related publications. In June of 2004, Gray acquired the Northwest Arkansas division of Arkansas Business Publishing Group.
“For some time now, we have been planning to name a President of the firm so that we can best manage and plan our growth and development and prepare for the future,” Woods said.
“During that process, we identified a number of qualities that we wanted in a President. Chief among them are executive experience in managing a multi-faceted business, proven leadership qualities, a working knowledge of Northwest Arkansas, and a deep understanding of the Arkansas business community and the state in general,” Woods said. “We knew what we wanted; we just didn’t know who that was.”
“But we came to realize that we were not just describing the qualities we wanted in a President, but we were describing Darin Gray to a ‘T’. I am hard-pressed to think of anyone who has those qualifications and is more widely respected and genuinely admired around the state than Darin,” Woods added.
In addition to the Northwest Arkansas Business Journal, Gray Matters publishes the Northwest Arkansas Guest Guide, Northwest Arkansas Newcomers Guide and the Northwest Arkansas Book of Lists; seasonal supplements include the Northwest Arkansas How To Guide, Northwest Arkansas Business Resource Guide and the Northwest Arkansas Outsource Guide.
“The cliché that ‘timing is everything’ certainly applies in this case,” said Gray. “At the time my family and I were talking through ‘what’s next?’ CJRW reached out to me. A casual conversation became a serious discussion and here we are today. I have long had deep respect for the agency, its founders and principals, and what it has meant to the business community and the entire state,” Gray said. “They have been involved in every business sector and have set the standard for communications excellence. I am honored to become part of its executive leadership team.”
Woods noted that he and his brother, Shelby Woods, will continue to be involved in day-to-day operations of the agency, but fully anticipates that Gray will take on an expanding leadership role moving forward.
Gray, his wife Tami and son, Caleb, live in Springdale and will maintain their residence there. Gray will split time between CJRW’s Northwest Arkansas office in Johnson and the agency’s downtown Little Rock location.