Advertising and PR powerhouse CJRW has a new chairman and CEO, just as the Little Rock-based agency opens for business at its new headquarters in downtown’s Creative Corridor.
On Monday, CJRW Chairman and CEO Wayne Woods said Gray would succeed him.
“Over the course of the last 18 months, the decision to designate Darin as my successor as Chairman and CEO has been validated time and time again,” said Woods. “He has broad experience in leading, managing and growing businesses and has played an instrumental role not only in our move to Main Street, but in positioning us for continued success moving forward.”
Gray, 50, will continue his duties as the firm’s president, a title he’s held since early 2014. Since being named President of CJRW, Gray has split his time between the agency’s Northwest Arkansas office and its Little Rock headquarters. Effective immediately, he will be based primarily in Little Rock and continue to maintain an office in Northwest Arkansas.
Woods, 67, cited expansion of the firm’s digital and interactive division and realignment and reorganization of several divisions as part of the agency leadership move.
“I could not be more humbled by the confidence Wayne and the Board of Directors have placed in me to lead this great firm,” Gray said. “CJRW is an iconic Arkansas business that has helped countless clients succeed since it was founded. It has clearly set the standard for excellence in our industry and we will continue to set that standard moving forward,” he said.
Woods, who has been with the firm since 1970, will assume Chairman Emeritus status and manage the agency’s publications division, publisher of numerous tourism-related publications annually.
“To be able to turn the reins over to Darin and step back into my first love and what I do best is extremely gratifying at this stage of my career,” said Woods. “That was my plan when we started this process and to see it come to fruition as we move into our new building is especially fitting.”
Gray began his professional career in the economic development arena while working for the Arkansas Industrial Development Commission (now AEDC). He also spent several years working in the Chamber of Commerce industry including a stint as the Economic Developer for the Rogers-Lowell Area Chamber of Commerce.
While serving in the economic development sector, Gray attended and graduated from the University of Oklahoma Economic Development Institute and the Arkansas Community Development Institute.
Gray is a past chairman of the Arkansas State Parks, Recreation and Travel Commission. He is also a founding member of the Northwest Arkansas CEO Forum and currently serves as a board member of the Center for Missions Mobilization. He previously served as a board member of the Rogers-Lowell Area Chamber of Commerce as well as secretary treasurer of the Springdale Chamber of Commerce.