Home BancShares in Conway, Ark., has named a new chief for its banking unit.

The $7.2 billion-asset company named Tracy M. French as president and chief executive of its subsidiary, Centennial Bank. French most recently served as a regional president at the bank, as well as vice chairman of its executive management committee.

In his new role, French replaces C. Randall Simms, who will remain president and CEO of the holding company.

"These changes come as part of improving the company's succession plan," John W. Allison, the chairman of Home BancShares, said in a press release Wednesday. "As an over $7 billion company, we felt it was the right time to make a positive expansion of the management team."

Centennial Bank has 156 branches in Alabama, Florida and Arkansas, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

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