Harps Food Stores Inc. of Springdale announced Thursday (Nov. 17) that Roger Collins has resigned as CEO, and Kim Eskew, the company’s president and COO, has been elected as his replacement. Both moves are effective immediately.
“Kim has the experience and proven leadership skills to be our next CEO,” Collins said in a company news release. “He has been overseeing marketing and operations, and has been instrumental in helping produce 11 consecutive years of record earnings. He is a man of integrity and I am confident that he will do a skillful job moving Harps forward. I am very happy for him.”
Collins, who served as CEO since 2000, will remain as chairman. He started with the company in 1986 as vice president of finance and CFO, and was promoted to executive vice president in 1995.
Eskew is originally from Piggott in east Arkansas and began his career with Harps as a student checker while attending college at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. After completing his bachelor’s degree in administrative management in 1980, he worked his way up through the organization in a variety of roles, eventually becoming executive vice president in 2002 and president and COO in 2008.
Harps operates 85 stores in Arkansas, Oklahoma, Missouri and Kansas, about the double the number of stores from the time Collins became CEO in 2000. The company was founded in 1930 as a family-owned business but became employee-owned in 2001, and is the largest employee-owned company headquartered in Arkansas.