Chris Gardner, of E.C. Barton
Chris Gardner

Niel Crowson, the president and CEO of E.C. Barton, is giving up his titles of board chairman and chairman of the ProSales 100 company's employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) committee in advance of his plans to retire in October 2018, E.C. Barton announced today.

The Jonesboro, Ark.-based company plans to name Crowson's successor as president and chief executive officer late this year, the company said in a news release.

Niel Crowson, EC Barton
NIel Crowson

Crowson has been with the company more than 28 years and has led it for more than 24 years, helping it grow from $63 million in annual revenues at the start of his tenure to just under $300 million today, the news release said.

As for the changes announced today:

  • Chris Gardner was named chairman of the board. Gardner owns a law firm in Jonesboro and has been on Barton's board since 2012. He also has been the company's general counsel for the past 17 years.
  • Chief Financial Officer Tom Rainwater was picked to serve as chairman of the ESOP Administration Committee.
  • Gary Beasley, Barton's vice president of accounting, was named vice chairman of the board. He has worked for the company for more than 41 years.

Now 132 years old and 100% employee owned, E.C. Barton has 104 locations in 17 states, under the name of Barton’s, Surplus Warehouse, Grossman’s Bargain Outlet, Builder’s Material Co., and E.C.B. Brokerage.