HOUSTON—Sysco Corporation, one of the country’s largest food service distributors, has named Mark Palmer group president, communications and collaboration. Palmer was the head of corporate communications at Enron Corporation throughout the financial scandal that forced the company into Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
In his new position, Palmer will be responsible for continuing to develop a strategy framework for improving communications with multiple stakeholders, including Sysco’s business partners, customers, suppliers, associates, shareholders and local communities.
Palmer, who joined Enron in 1996, was head of communications throughout the scandals that engulfed the company in 2001. But while the company was excoriated in the media, Palmer generally earned high marks for honesty from the reporters who covered the crisis. In their book 24 Days, an account of their investigation into Enron, Wall Street Journal reporters Rebecca Smith and John Emshwiller said they “didn’t think Palmer had ever knowingly given them bad information.”
Since leaving the energy company in February of 2004, Palmer was managing director and media relations practice group leader in the Houston office of Public Strategies, an Austin-pased public affairs firm recently acquired by Hill & Knowlton. Earlier in his career he produced news and sports shows for Learfield Communications and held senior communications positions at Dallas-based Fina.
Sysco is a leader in selling, marketing and distributing food products to restaurants, healthcare and educational facilities, lodging establishments and other customers who prepare meals away from home. Last year, the company generated $32.6 billion in sales.