Warren Stephens

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Warren Stephens
Born Warren Amerine Stephens
(1957-02-18) February 18, 1957 (age 61)
Little Rock, Arkansas, US
Residence Little Rock, Arkansas
Nationality American
Education Trinity Presbyterian High School
Alma mater Washington and Lee University
Wake Forest University
Occupation Chairman, president and CEO, Stephens Inc.
Net worth US$2.4 billion (Forbes 2016)[1]
Spouse(s) Harriet Stephens
Children 3
Parent(s) Jackson T. Stephens
Mary Amerine Stephens

Warren Amerine Stephens (born February 18, 1957) is an American businessman. He is the chairman, president and chief executive officer (CEO) of Stephens Inc., a full service, privately held investment bank.[2] On the Forbes 2016 list of the world's billionaires, he was ranked #722 with a net worth of US$2.4 billion.[1] Stephens lives in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Early life and education[edit]

Stephens was born in Little Rock, the son of Jackson T. Stephens and Mary Amerine Stephens. Warren's father, "Jack" Stephens, and his uncle, "Witt" Stephens, partnered as investors and financiers in the investment firm, Stephens Inc.[3]

Warren began his education in Little Rock, and in 1975, graduated from Trinity Presbyterian High School in Montgomery, Alabama. He graduated from Washington and Lee University in 1979 with a BA in Economics, and received his MBA from Wake Forest University in 1981.[4]


Stephens joined his father and uncle in the investment banking business in Little Rock, which had 139 employees. At that time, the firm resembled and operated much like one of the old British merchant banks, investing the firm's and family funds in various businesses and ventures, and it still operates the same way today. Stephens Inc is noted for handling the IPO of Wal-Mart Stores in 1970.[3]

Stephens began work as an associate in the corporate finance department, concentrating on oil and gas. He became head of the department in 1983 and spent a lot of time on mergers and acquisitions. On February 18, 1986, Stephens was appointed president and CEO of Stephens Inc.[3]

In 1990, he was the senior advisor to Tyson Foods in their acquisition of Holly Farms in a nine-month takeover battle.[3] He is only the third chairman, president and CEO in the firm's more than 80 years of operations since 1933.[citation needed]

In 2006, Stephens acquired 100 percent of the outstanding shares of Stephens Inc from the other family members.[3]

Stephens serves on the board of Dillard's.[5]

Leadership style[edit]

Stephens believes that the turmoil in the financial markets beginning in 2008 created an opportunity for a firm like Stephens Inc.[6] "Dad and Uncle Witt told me one of their corporate goals was to be in business the next day. We are under no illusion that anyone would ride to our rescue so you cannot ever take a risk that could jeopardize the ability of the firm to survive," Warren once told employees.[6]

Stephens has written that the effect of Dodd-Frank and its favored treatment of the "too big to fail" is a basic threat to the US economy.[7]

Political involvement[edit]

A Republican, he supported Bob Dole in 1996, Steve Forbes in 1999, and has supported Mike Huckabee.[8][9] Stephens was a bundler for Mitt Romney in 2012.[10] He has been critical of presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.[11][9][12][8] During the 2016 election, Stephens and his brother Jackson Stephens were major financial supporters of the Stop Trump movement.[13]


Stephens served on the board of trustees of his alma mater, Washington and Lee University.[4] Stephens and his wife Harriet are benefactors of various organizations, most notably the Episcopal Collegiate School and the Arkansas Arts Center, both in Little Rock.[14][15]


  1. ^ a b "The World's Billionaires (2016 ranking): #722 Warren Stephens". Forbes. March 1, 2016. Retrieved 2017-01-02. 
  2. ^ "Warren Stephens". Stephens. 
  3. ^ a b c d e "Stephens History". Stephens. 
  4. ^ a b "W&L". Washington & Lee. 
  5. ^ "Dillard's Board of Directors". Bloomberg Business Week. 
  6. ^ a b "Warren Stephens Memo" (PDF). Stephens. 
  7. ^ "Warren Stephens: How Big Banks Threaten Our Economy" (PDF). Stephens. 
  8. ^ a b Steven Barnes, 'PRIVATE SECTOR; Understatement, at $5 Billion', in The New York Times, November 21, 1999 [1]
  9. ^ a b NNDB profile
  10. ^ Schouten, Fredreka (July 13, 2012). "Mitt Romney announces three bundlers". USA Today. Retrieved October 15, 2013. 
  11. ^ Forbes profile
  12. ^ BusinessWeek profile
  13. ^ Mider, Zachary (March 21, 2016). "Arkansas Billionaire Warren Stephens A Leading Stop-Trump Donor". Southwest Times Record. Retrieved July 18, 2016. 
  14. ^ "Episcopal Collegiate School: History". Episcopal Collegiate School. 
  15. ^ "The King of Little Rock". Barron's.