Russell E. Palmer is the owner and Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of The Palmer Group, a corporate investment firm located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Before founding his own firm, he served as Dean of the Wharton School for seven years and prior to that he served for ten years as Managing Partner and CEO of Touche Ross & Co. (now Deloitte & Touche), an accounting and consulting firm. He became CEO of Touche Ross at age 37, the youngest person ever to attain that position in what is now the “Big Four” accounting firms.
After 27 years in the accounting and consulting profession, Mr. Palmer became Dean of the Wharton School. As the tenth Dean, and the first to come from the private sector, he shared his management experience with MBA students in a leadership course that he developed. He was instrumental in attracting more than 100 new faculty members to the School, building a new executive education program and complex and raising more than $125 million for the School. When he retired, the school was consistently ranked number one in undergraduate business education and in the top three MBA graduate programs.
In his current career with The Palmer Group, he has acquired more than thirty companies with the majority being in the educational field. All of these acquisitions have been successful investments, with the latest divestiture being a proprietary school group that was sold for $120 million.
Active in the outside business community, Mr. Palmer has served on 12 New York Stock Exchange boards, including Honeywell International, Inc., Verizon Communications, Inc., The May Department Stores Company, The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company, and Bethlehem Steel Corporation. He is a Trustee Emeritus of the University of Pennsylvania, a Trustee of the National Constitution Center, and a Member of the Smithsonian National Board.
Mr. Palmer graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree, cum laude, from Michigan State University, and has received several honorary degrees. He has written and lectured extensively. His articles and essays have appeared in Business Week, the New York Times, the Journal of Accountancy, and other publications.