Arkansas native Nelson Peacock will lead one of Northwest Arkansas’ leading nonprofit organizations.
Peacock takes over as the Northwest Arkansas Council’s president and CEO, starting in July. Nick Hobbs and other members of the Council’s search committee announced his hiring at a press conference today.
The Council, which was established in 1990, is recognized for its leadership in advancing job opportunities, infrastructure investment and quality of life in the state and region.
Peacock grew up in Arkansas and earned degrees at the University of Arkansas and University of Arkansas School of Law. He brings a track record of political, government relations and management experience to the Council. Peacock will be moving from California where he serves as a senior vice president for the University of California Office of the President.
“We undertook a nationwide search for our new president and CEO, and Nelson stands out for the breadth of experience he brings to the job, and because of his understanding of the state,” said Hobbs, the head of the search committee. “Nelson has the perfect combination of background, skills and vision to lead the Council. We are excited that he will be returning home to put his great experience to work in Northwest Arkansas.”
“I am looking forward to building on the region’s excellent track record of success,” Peacock said. “I am honored to be able to join with regional leaders and partners as we continue to work together to improve quality of life and job opportunities for Arkansans across the region.”
Peacock will soon leave his position as senior vice president government relations at the University of California Office of the President. In the role, he oversees all aspects of state and federal governmental relations for the $32.5 billion University of California system, which includes 10 UC campuses, five academic medical centers and three national laboratories.
Prior to this, Peacock was appointed by President Barack Obama to lead the Office of Legislative Affairs for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). In this role, he was responsible for all aspects of the department’s interactions with Congress on issues related to counter terrorism, immigration, cyber security and natural disasters. Peacock oversaw the congressional teams of seven operational agencies of DHS, including the United States Coast Guard, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the U.S. Secret Service, Transportation Security Administration and the Federal Emergency Management Administration.
Peacock also served as senior counsel to Senator Joe Biden on the Judiciary Committee of the United States Senate where he advised the future Vice President on homeland security, crime and intellectual property issues.
Peacock is just the third president and CEO hired to lead the 27-year-old Northwest Arkansas Council. The first was Uvalde Lindsey, currently a state senator who led the Council from 1990-2005. Peacock replaces Mike Malone, who was the Council’s president and CEO from 2006-2016. Malone resigned to become Northwest Arkansas coordinator for Runway Group, LLC in Bentonville.
Peacock has a Bachelor of Arts and Juris Doctorate from the University of Arkansas and Masters of Arts from the George Washington University School of Law.
Peacock, his wife Susan and their two young daughters will move to Northwest Arkansas in July.