The carbonylative Suzuki cross-coupling of 2-bromopyridine with various boronic acids to prepare unsymmetrical arylpyridine ketones has been carried out using palladium/N-heterocyclic carbene complexes as catalysts prepared in situ. The selectivity and the rate of these reactions are highly dependent on the conditions, i.e., nature of the palladium catalyst precursor, solvent, temperature and CO pressure. The main side-products arise from direct, non-carbonylative cross-coupling. Under the optimum conditions, arylpyridine ketones are recovered in high yields (60-88%). The antibacterial activities of the corresponding benzimidazole salts 2 were tested against Gram positive and negative bacteria using the agar dilution procedure, and their IC50 values have been determined.