Interior Sector, Delphi Corp., Age: 51, Spun off from General Motors in 1999, Delphi, headquartered in Troy, Michigan, is the world’s largest maker of auto parts. O’Neal’s sector produces energy management systems, chassis, steering, thermal systems products, automotive electronics, audio, and other safety and communication products. In 2003, this sector generated $14.2 billion of Delphi’s $28.1 billion annual revenues. In addition, O’Neal is responsible for Delphi’s operations in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and South America. He also serves as the strategic champion for Delphi’s Ford customer team. He started his career at GM in 1971 as a student at General Motors Institute (now Kettering University), then moved on to a number of engineering and manufacturing positions in Dayton, Ohio; Portugal; and Canada. He accepted his current position in 2003.
Vicki R. Palmer, Executive Vice President, Coca-Cola Enterprises Inc., Age: 51, Palmer is one of the key earnings drivers for one of the largest soft drink bottlers in the world. In addition to bottling Coke, the company handles the Minute Maid line of juice products. Palmer manages the company’s $12 billion multicurrency debt portfolio, $2.5 billion pension plan, 401(k) plan investments, and commercial and investment banking relations. She helps establish the strategic direction of the company’s organizational development efforts. Before joining Coca-Cola in 1983 as manager of worldwide pension investments, Palmer spent five years at FedEx, where she was the company’s first black female manager. A native of Memphis, Tennessee, Palmer held numerous financial positions at FedEx. She was formerly the manager of corporate finance. Prior to her current role, she was a corporate loan officer.
Cecil B. Pickett, President/ Senior Vice President, Schering-Plough Research Institute / Schering Plough, Age: 59, Pickett heads the pharmaceutical research arm of Schering-Plough, a healthcare company that produces prescription medications. Pickett, whose 2003 research and development efforts generated $1.47 billion in revenues, had a hand in marketing successful allergy and respiratory drugs like Clarinex, Claritin, and Nasonex. The medications contributed more than $4.2 billion to the company’s bottom line when they hit the market. Pickett came to Schering-Plough from Merck Research Laboratories, where he served as senior vice president. He is also a member of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration Science Board. Pickett holds a Ph.D. in cell biology from UCLA and has been published extensively in leading research journals. He has been a frequent speaker at scientific symposiums and conferences.
Myrtle S. Potter, President, Commercial Operations, Genentech Inc., Age: 46, Potter has distinguished herself in the field of biotechnology by taking brands of medicine and making them household names. At Merck, where Potter spent 14 years (three of them as vice president of the Northeast Region Business Group), she led the marketing of the ulcer remedy Prilosec. Later, at Bristol-Meyers Squibb, where Potter held various executive positions from 1996 to 2000, she was in charge of marketing the cholesterol drug Pravachol. She joined Genentech in 2000 as executive vice president and chief operating officer. She now leads Genentech’s commercial operations, including sales, marketing, managed care,