James W. Owens served as chairman and CEO of Caterpillar Inc. in Peoria, Illinois from 2004 through June 2010, retiring after thirty-eight years of service at the company. He was president of Solar Turbines in San Diego from 1990-93 and corporate CFO from 1993-95. In 1995, he became a group president and member of Caterpillar’s executive office. While chairman, Owens served on the executive committee of the Business Roundtable, was chairman of the Business Council and an advisor to President Bush and President Obama.
Owens is currently a director of Alcoa Inc., IBM Corporation, and Morgan Stanley. Owens is chairman of the executive committee for the Peterson Institute for International Economics, and served on the board of directors of the Council on Foreign Relations. He served on President Obama’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board from 2009 to 2010. He is also chairman of the board of trustees for North Carolina State University in Raleigh, North Carolina. Owens is a native of Elizabeth City, North Carolina, and graduated from North Carolina State University in 1973 with a PhD in economics.