EXECUTIVE LECTURE FORUM: Activities: 2003: Bio: Palmer

August 28, 2003 Ambassador John Palmer

Ambassador John N. Palmer
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to Portugal

John N. Palmer was sworn in as Ambassador to Portugal on November 9, 2001. He presented his credentials to President Sampaio on November 28, 2001. 

Ambassador Palmer has been an entrepreneur, telecommunications pioneer, and community leader. He began his career in telecommunications with the purchase of a local radio common carrier in 1965. By 1973, he had developed more than nine regional paging companies throughout the South. That year, he formed Mobile Communications Corporation of America (MCCA). During his 16-year tenure as Chairman and President, MCCA grew to become a significant force in the cellular telephone business. 

In 1989, Ambassador Palmer sold MCCA to BellSouth but retained certain businesses that became SkyTel Communications. These operations included SkyTel's domestic one-way paging and advanced messaging system and Latin American paging services. SkyTel became a leader in advanced wireless messaging and deployed the first nationwide two-way wireless messaging network. Ambassador Palmer served as Chairman of SkyTel until its sale to MCI WorldCom in 1999. 

Ambassador Palmer has served on the President's Export Council as a Private Sector Advisor to the Secretary of Commerce; and as a Private Sector Trade Advisor to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative. He was a member of the boards of two New York Stock Exchange companies, AmSouth Bancorporation and EastGroup. 

Ambassador Palmer’s civic leadership efforts included several board memberships: Chairman of the National Trustees of the National Symphony Orchestra; the Institute for Technology Development (ITD); Foundation for the Mid-South; Trustee of Millsaps College; and President and Director for the University of Mississippi Foundation. He also served as Chairman-Elect of the Mississippi Economic Council. 

Ambassador Palmer was also President of the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association and Telocator, both national trade associations. He is a past member of the Young President's Organization and the Chief Executives Organization. 

Ambassador Palmer holds BA and MBA degrees from the University of Mississippi. He and his wife Clementine have four grown children.

© 2003 The Radványi Chair in International Security Studies, Mississippi State University.
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