Lee R. Godown
Lee R. Godown is a public policy executive with deep roots in Washington and other world capitals, and a record of progressive leadership for companies facing change, opportunity and crisis. A strategist and tactician with an appreciation for business performance, Lee has a reputation for ingenuity, diplomacy and the ability to navigate complexity. He’s guided global companies through high-stakes transactions as well as legislative and regulatory inquiries. He worked as a lobbyist and Congressional staffer for four decades, and he has deep business and government connections in North and South America, Europe, the Middle East and Asia.
For more than nine years, Lee was at the forefront of General Motors’s public policy initiatives, including its response to several high-profile safety, regulatory and legislative crises. As Vice President, Global Markets, Policy (2012-2019) and Executive Director, US Federal Affairs (2010-2012), Lee provided guidance and support to his senior leadership on threats to and opportunities for the business, including governmental safety inquiries and the regulatory and legislative review of business transactions. He was integrally involved in the company’s response to the 2014 ignition switch crisis, which set the gold standard for crisis management with an upfront acknowledgment of and proactive approach to the issues. Lee prepared the CEO and other senior leaders for Congressional testimony and executive branch investigations, which ended with no further action by Congress and a deferred prosecution agreement that was successfully completed in 2018.
Other major work included coordination of the company’s federal and stakeholder outreach during its emergence from bankruptcy and its successful 2010 IPO. He also led the company’s response to allegations of battery pack fires involving the first-generation Volt battery electric vehicle, and the global diesel scandal sparked by Volkswagen. Similarly, he played a major role in GM’s profitable sale of its Opel/Vauxhall subsidiary to Groupe PSA of France.
After leaving GM in March of 2019, Lee founded Alpex International, a global consultancy focused on assisting corporate, governmental and non-profit clients in their interactions with governments around the world.
Before GM, Lee was Managing Director (2007-2010) at Public Strategies, the global crisis management and corporate advisory firm owned by WPP Group, providing government relations counsel to major US and international companies and individuals. Lee was embedded at GM during his last year at Public Strategies, helping the company transition to a new CEO and prepare for the possibility of becoming public again – which GM accomplished after only 18 months.
Lee began his career in public service, working for five Members of Congress, including as Chief of Staff for Rep. Loretta Sanchez of California (1997-2007) and as Legislative Director for Rep. Bob Wise of West Virginia (1983-1989). In between, he was a state and federal lobbyist for the American College of Emergency Physicians and had leading staff roles on the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, and the Government Operations Committee’s Subcommittee on Government Information, Justice and Agriculture.
Lee has a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Foreign Affairs from California State University, Pomona, which gave him a Distinguished Alumnus Award in 2015. He has taught at the University of California, Irvine’s Paul Merage School of Business, and the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business and is adjunct professor at the Schar Graduate School of Policy and Government at George Mason University. He lives in Fairfax, VA, with his wife, two sons, a daughter and two Golden Retrievers.