2018 ALL STAR | FINANCE
If you knew nothing else about Richard Palmer's job qualifications, this would be enough: As CFO of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and its corporate predecessor, Fiat, Palmer was the primary sounding board — and chief debate foil — for former CEO Sergio Marchionne. Whatever grand plans Marchionne sought to develop, they went through Palmer before the rest of the world got a look.
It was Palmer's steady and trusted hand, especially with the capital markets, that enabled many of Marchionne's greatest accomplishments and turned FCA into a financial force to be reckoned with.
Especially over the last year, as Marchionne made clear his intention to retire before his untimely death in July, Palmer's accomplishments and skills have been on full display. Because of his stewardship, FCA now stands in as strong a financial position as the company has ever been in, with strong support from investors and more cash on hand than debt on its books. And while his responsibilities at FCA have grown in the wake of Marchionne's death, it is Palmer's mastery of finance where the 51-year-old continues to shine brightest.