Bill Owens is currently the Chairman of CenturyLink Telecom (the third largest telecoms company in the U.S.) and also serves on the boards of Polycom, Wipro and Viasystems. He is the Executive Chairman of Red Bison, a company involved in telecoms and enterprise technology solutions. Most recently, he was the Chairman of AEA Investors Asia, a global private equity firm located in Hong Kong, and Vice Chairman of the NYSE for Asia. Owens is the non‐executive Chairman of the private companies Eastern Airlines, Yangtze, Intelius, Humin, and Flow Mobile.
From 2004 to 2006, Owens was CEO and Vice Chairman of Nortel Networks. Owens took the helm of Nortel following the disclosure of accounting issues in April 2004. Under his leadership, Nortel was reestablished as a stable, ethical fortune 500 company growing strongly and on the path to reestablish leadership in the telecommunications and enterprise IT global marketplace. Prior to Nortel, Owens was CEO and Chairman of Teledesic LLC, a Bill Gates/Craig McCaw company bringing worldwide broadband through an extensive satellite network and prior, was the President, COO and Vice Chairman of Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC). Prior to SAIC, Owens was Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the second‐ranking military officer in the U.S. He had responsibility for reorganizing and restructuring the armed forces in the post‐Cold War era. Widely recognized for bringing commercial high technology into the Department of Defense for military applications, Owens was the architect of the Revolution in Military Affairs (RMA), an advanced systems technology approach to military operations, the most significant change in the system of requirements, budgets and technology for the four armed forces since World War II. Owens wrote more than 50 articles on national security and authored the book "High Seas." His book, "Lifting the Fog of War," was published in April 2000 and a revision was published in Mandarin in 2009. He is a 1962 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics, bachelor’s and master’s degrees in politics, philosophy and economics from Oxford University, and a master’s degree in management from George Washington University. On December 1, 2004, Bill Owens received the Intrepid Salute Award in recognition of his business achievements and support of important philanthropic activities.
Owens was awarded the “Legion d’Honore” by France, the highest awards given to foreign citizens by the countries of Indonesia and Sweden. He was the George Washington University Distinguished Graduate in 2001 and was recognized as one of The 50 Most Powerful People in Networking by Network World, one of the industry’s premier publications. He was awarded by NACD as one of the 100 Best Board Members in the U.S. for 2011. Owens served on the Board of Directors of over 20 public companies i.e., Daimler Chrysler AG, BAT, Nortel Networks, Wipro, and Telstra and founded five technology companies, Lumera, Extend America, Amerilink, Yangtze, and Prometheus. He is a member of the board of Brookings Institution, Council on Foreign Relations and Rand Corp. Asia, and served on the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and Carnegie Boards.
Since 2007, Owens is very active in significant philanthropy to foster Chinese-American relations including forming and funding dialogues between the most senior retired officers in the U.S. and Chinese militaries and similar dialogues between very senior economists.