Treatment of the salicylaldimine ligands (L1H, L2H, L3H, L4H and L5H) with palladium(II) acetate in absolute ethanol gave the orthopalladation dinuclear [Pd(L-1)(mu-OAc)](2), [Pd(L-2)(mu-OAc)](2) and mononuclear [Pd(L-3)(2)] with the tetradentate ligands [N, C, O] or [N, O] moiety. The ligands L1H and L2H are coordinated through the imine nitrogen and aromatic ortho carbon atoms, whereas the ligand L3H coordinated through the imine nitrogen and phenolic oxygens atoms. The Pd(II) complexes have a square-planar structure and were found to be effective catalysts for the hydrogenation of both nitrobenzene and cyclohexene. These metal complexes were also tested as catalysts in Suzuki-Miyaura coupling of aryl bromide in the presence of K2CO3. The catalytic studies showed that the introduction of different groups on the salicyl ring of the molecules effected the catalytic activity towards hydrogenation of nitrobenzene and cyclohexene in DMF at 25 and 45 degrees C. The Pd(II) complexes easily prepared from cheap materials could be used as versatile and efficient catalysts for different C-C coupling reactions (Suzuki-Miyaura reactions). The structure of ligands and their complexes was characterized by UV-Vis, FT-IR, H-1 and C-13 NMR, elemental analysis, molar conductivity, as well as by electrochemical techniques. (C) 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.