John N. Palmer Sr.
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.
He 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. 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 US Trade Representative. He was a member of the Boards of three New York Stock Exchange companies, Entergy, AmSouth Bancorporation and EastGroup. His 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 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.
He holds B.A. and M.B.A. degrees from the University of Mississippi and an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Millsaps College. He and his wife, Clementine, have four grown children.