by Max Brantley
McDaniel, in a statement praising Rutherford, said he'd be announcing a new chief shortly.
McLarty release and McDaniel statement follow:
The McLarty Companies today announced Blake Rutherford will be joining the organization as a vice president effective later this month. Rutherford will be responsible for advising the company and its affiliates on communications, strategy and corporate social responsibility. He will report to Chairman Thomas F. "Mack" McLarty and Senior Vice President Franklin McLarty.
Rutherford currently serves as chief of staff to Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel, a position he has held since September 2010. He previously served as director of public communications for Stone Ward and as an attorney with Wright, Lindsey & Jennings LLP in Little Rock.
Senior Vice President Franklin McLarty said that Rutherford's experience in developing communications solutions and strategic initiatives in both the public and private sectors will be an asset moving forward.
"I have known Blake for many years, and I have watched his professional career develop as an attorney, a public relations executive, and recently as chief of staff to the Attorney General," McLarty said. "His experience will enhance our family business interests as we continue to grow in Arkansas and beyond."
"I have great respect for the McLartys and all they have been able to accomplish in business and public service," Rutherford said. "In this new role I look forward to being able to assist their talented team in achieving their business goals. I am very fortunate to have this opportunity."
Rutherford received his undergraduate degree in political science from Middlebury College in Middlebury, Vermont and a Juris Doctorate from the University of Arkansas School of Law. He has served as an adjunct professor at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law. He lives in Little Rock with his wife, Jessica Dean.
About The McLarty Companies
The McLarty Companies is a fourth-generation family holding company based in Little Rock, Arkansas with various business interests throughout the United States and abroad. Originally founded in 1921 as McLarty Leasing Systems, the McLarty Companies has grown to include the McLarty family's interest in Little Rock based RLJ-McLarty-Landers Automotive Holdings, one of the largest auto retailers in the nation as well as other business ventures.
Attorney General Dustin McDaniel issued the following statement today upon the announcement of the departure of Chief of Staff Blake Rutherford:
“Blake’s energy and professionalism brought my administration unprecedented levels of success. I will be forever grateful for the thoughtful leadership he brought to the table directing our legislative agenda through two general sessions and one fiscal session. Blake earned trust and respect from legislators on both sides of the aisle and among our clients throughout state government.
“I relied on him as chief of staff to make our communications and public outreach efforts second to none. He skillfully handled many of the most important issues that have faced our office, including negotiating a landmark agreement on the Illinois River watershed and launching our first-ever Cyber Crimes Division.
“Blake is a great personal friend and a class act. I hate to see him leave, but I know he moves on to an exciting, new challenge in the private sector. Our loss is The McLarty Companies’ gain.”
McDaniel said a new chief of staff has already been selected, and he will announce the selection soon.
Rutherford is a Little Rock native and graduate of the University of Arkansas School of Law. He has been the Attorney General’s chief of staff since September 2010.