News in brief

Simmons bank picks

Daniel Hobbs as CFO

Veteran banking executive Daniel Hobbs has been named chief financial officer at Simmons First National Corp. of Pine Bluff.

Hobbs most recently served as executive vice president and head of finance for Regions Bank, a Birmingham-based lender with more than $150 billion in assets, leading the finance team that supported all aspects of the bank's business -- consumer, corporate and wealth.

He will report to Simmons President Jay Brogdon, who has been serving as both president and CFO.

Hobbs "is a results-driven leader with superb business acumen and a passion for team building," Brogdon said. "His outstanding track record of achievement across financial functions and deep understanding of the banking industry will be invaluable to our organization as we continue to build upon our storied 120-year history."

During his 16-year tenure, Hobbs also served as chief financial officer for the consumer bank and in a variety of other capacities.

Simmons, operating as Simmons Bank, has 232 branches in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas.

-- Andrew Moreau

Kraft rolls out vegan

macaroni and cheese

The Kraft Heinz Co. said Wednesday it's bringing dairy-free macaroni and cheese to the United States for the first time.

The company said the new recipe has the same creamy texture and flavor of its beloved 85-year-old original Mac & Cheese but replaces dairy with ingredients like fava bean protein and coconut oil powder.

The plant-based Kraft NotMac & Cheese, which will be rolled out to U.S. stores over the next few months, was developed in collaboration with Not Co., a Chicago startup that makes plant-based milk, burgers and other products.

Kraft Heinz, which is based in Pittsburgh and Chicago, formed a joint venture with Not Co. last year. The joint venture, called The Kraft Heinz Not Co., has already released non-dairy cheese slices and mayonnaise in the U.S. It plans to add more products and begin international distribution next year.

Kraft Heinz began selling vegan macaroni and cheese in Australia in 2021, but this will be the first time it's been sold in the U.S.

-- The Associated Press

Index climbs 2.87

to finish at 874.60

The Arkansas Index, a price-weighted index that tracks the largest public companies based in the state, closed Wednesday at 874.60, up 2.87 points.

"Equities closed moderately unchanged as the real estate and financial sectors outperformed driven by lower U.S. Treasury yields as a revised GDP report for the third quarter reflected a lower than expected personal consumption core price index," said Leon Lants, managing director at Stephen's, Inc.

The index was developed by Bloomberg News and the Democrat-Gazette with a base value of 100 as of Dec. 30, 1997.

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