John R. BelkJohn R. “Johnny” Belk has been president and chief operating officer of Belk, Inc. since May 26, 2004. He was employed with Irving Trust Company from 1981 to 1983 before joining Belk as a management trainee in the men’s and boys' department at Belk in Greenville, N.C. He subsequently served as a house wares buyer and area merchandise manager for the Matthews Belk store at Eastridge Mall in Gastonia, N.C., from 1986 until 1989 and store manager of the Monroe, N.C., Belk store from 1989 to 1990.

In 1990, he was named vice president and director of stores for the Belk Brothers Company group in Charlotte, N.C. Two years later was appointed senior vice president of store and group operations of Belk Stores Services, Inc., also located in Charlotte. He was promoted to president and chief operating officer of Belk Stores Services, Inc. in 1997. The following year, Belk was named president of finance, systems and operations of Belk, Inc.

The Charlotte native is a graduate of the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, N.C., with a Bachelor of Arts degree in honors economics and political science. He received a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Virginia in Charlottesville.

Belk is chairman of the board of trustees of Novant Health and serves on the boards of directors of Alltel Corporation and Ruddick Corporation; the board of trustees of the YMCA of Greater Charlotte; and the executive committee of United Way of Central Carolinas.

Belk is the son of the late Thomas M. Belk, longtime president of Belk stores, and Katherine McKay Belk Cook. His grandfather, William Henry Belk, founded the company in 1888 in Monroe, N.C.