James W. Owens

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James W. Owens is the former Chairman, CEO and Executive Chairman of Caterpillar Inc and a board member of the aluminium giant Alcoa, among other companies.


Owens was Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Caterpillar from February 2004 through June 2010 and Executive Chairman from June to October 2010 when he retired.

He has also sat on the Board of Directors of aluminium giant Alcoa since 2005, where he chairs the audit committee. He is a director of the International Business Machines Corporation and Morgan Stanley and a senior advisor to Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co., a global asset manager working in private equity and fixed income.[1]

He is affiliated with the Peterson Institute for International Economics and the Council on Foreign Relations of which he is Chairman of the Business Council.[2]


According to his Alcoa profile:

Mr. Owens served as Vice Chairman of Caterpillar from December 2003 to February 2004, and as Group President from 1995 to 2003, responsible at various times for 13 of the company’s 25 divisions. Mr. Owens joined Caterpillar in 1972 as a corporate economist and was named chief economist of Caterpillar Overseas S.A. in Geneva, Switzerland in 1975. From 1980 until 1987 he held managerial positions in the Accounting and Product Source Planning Departments. In 1987, he became managing director of P.T. Natra Raya, Caterpillar’s joint venture in Indonesia. He held that position until 1990, when he was elected a Corporate Vice President and named President of Solar Turbines Incorporated, a Caterpillar subsidiary in San Diego, California. In 1993, he was elected Vice President and Chief Financial Officer.[3]


Alcoa Directors profile


  1. Alcoa website, Governance, Directors James W Owens Accessed 20/02/2012
  2. Alcoa website, Governance, Directors James W Owens Accessed 20/02/2012
  3. Alcoa website, Governance, Directors James W Owens Accessed 20/02/2012