GM hires Biden niece, former Obama aide to head environment, sustainability and governance policy

Kalea Hall
The Detroit News

General Motors Co. has hired Missy Owens, a former official in the Obama administration and niece of President Joe Biden, to head environment, sustainability and governance policy on its "growing team" in Washington, the automaker confirmed Wednesday. 

In this role, Owens will work in sustainability and lead policy efforts on ESG. She will be a part of General Motors' Global Regulatory Affairs and Transportation Policy Group, under the leadership of David Strickland, GM vice president of global regulatory affairs and transportation technology policy.

Missy Owens has been named to a policy position with General Motors Co.

The Detroit automaker has been beefing up its policy team in Washington as it pushes forward on the electric vehicle promises it has made. In order to achieve those promises, GM and other automakers are pushing for government assistance, including tax incentives, to get consumers to transition to electric vehicles. 

Last year, GM hired Omar Vargas as vice president and head of global public policy. Vargas was previously senior vice president and chief government affairs officer for 3M Co. He's responsible for leading policy efforts as GM accelerates its aspiration to field an emissions-free lineup of electric vehicles by 2035. 

Also last year, GM placed Craig Glidden, executive vice president and general counsel, in the newly created role of executive vice president of global public policy.

And in the fall of 2021, Strickland was hired as the automaker's vice president of global regulatory affairs. He was previously staff director of the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation. Strickland also served as the administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in the Obama administration from 2010-2014.

“We are excited to welcome Missy Owens to our growing team,” Strickland said in a statement. “Missy’s extensive experience across organizations leading teams to establish sustainability policies will be an asset as we drive towards a carbon-neutral future by 2040.”

Owens spent eight years with the Coca-Cola Co. in New York City and Washington. While with Coke, she created "a circular-economy strategy and built partnerships with NGOs that would enable the company to reach its ambitious sustainability goals," GM said.

According to her LinkedIn page, Owens was chief of staff to the deputy Secretary of Commerce from June 2011 to May 2012 and deputy chief of staff for the U.S. Department of Energy from February 2009 to June 2011.

Owens also previously practiced law in New York City.  

She has a bachelor's degree from Georgetown University and a law degree from Brooklyn Law School.

Twitter: @bykaleahall