Eddie Hight, will step down as chief operating officer for America’s Car-Mart next month, according to a filing Friday morning (Oct. 11) with the federal Securities and Exchange Commission.
The buy here, pay here dealer said Hight notified the company of his intention to retire from his executive suite last week, but agreed to stay on with the car dealer to assist with training and development. The release states that Hight will retain his employee status overseeing the company’s training program and promoting the corporate culture.
The move is effective Nov. 30, and Car-Mart said the chief operating officer position will remain unfilled at the time.
“We are re-evaluating this position and duties in light of the rapid growth the company has seen in recent years,” said Jeff Williams, chief financial officer for Car-Mart.
A chief operating officer typically oversees the day to day corporate activities which at Car-Mart are spread across 129 stores and growing. Williams said Hight was ready to step back and work a traditional eight-to-five job, having devoted a decade to extensive travel in the chief operating role.
Hight was also recently (Oct. 7) elected as a director to the company’s board for an interim term until the company’s next shareholder meeting, when he and the other six directors stand for re-election. The company also notes that Hight will not likely be named to any board committees at this time.
“We are excited to have him on our board,” Williams said in a phone interview.
Hight has held the No. 3 position at Car-Mart since 2002 and has logged 29 years with the company working his up from lot manager, a position he took in 1984. He earned a gross salary of $330,000 last year in addition to other income ($41,189) reported on the company’s recent proxy filing.
Other income included:
• $2,350 for use of company automobile
• $7,303 for club dues
• $5,185 for matching contributions to our 401(k) plan
• $1,492 for insurance premiums
• $780 for Christmas bonus
• $24,079 for reimbursement of expenses for executive health insurance plan.
Williams said Hight will earn a salary for his new role in training, but will not receive a retainer fee for his board service, as that goes against company policy. Non-employee directors earn an annual retainer fee of $40,000 in addition to stock option awards exercisable for up to 10 years.
Hight held 64,133 shares of Car-Mart stock as of April 3, according to the last Form 4 filing that disclosed a sale of 2776 shares for a reported $129,000.
Shares of Car-Mart stock were trading at $44.65 on Friday morning following the release. The stock was up 17 cents in light trading. Over the past 52 weeks the share price has ranged from $35.89 to $50.59.
Car-Mart will report its fiscal third quarter earnings on Nov 11.
Shares of Car-Mart (NASDAQ: CRMT) were trading late Friday at $44.97, up more than 1%. During the past 52 weeks the share price has ranged from a $50.59 high to a $35.89 low.