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Aylwin Lewis (’76, MBA ’90)

Retired Chairman & CEO
Potbelly Sandwich Works

Lectured April 8, 2021

Aylwin Lewis was born and raised in Houston, Texas. He received a BA and BS from the University of Houston in 1976 and returned to school to pursue his master’s degree in Human Resources Management from Houston Baptist University in 1988. In 1990, he earned an MBA from the University of Houston.

Aylwin has had an illustrious 40-year career within the restaurant and retail industry that has included:

  • COO of Pizza Hut – 1996-2000
  • President & COO of Yum! Brands, Inc. – 2000-2004
  • President & CEO of Kmart – 2004-2005
  • President & CEO of Sears Holdings Company – 2005-2008
  • Chairman & CEO of Potbelly Sandwich Works – 2008-2017

Since 2016, he has served on the board of directors for Marriott Hotels and has been a board member for Disney since 2004.  Other board appointments include:

  • Rush Hospital Chicago, 2010-2018
  • Starwood Hotels, 2013-2016
  • Halliburton, 2000-2004

Aylwin has been recognized for his contributions to the industry and his alma mater. In 2014, he was awarded the Golden Chain Award by Nation’s Restaurant News. In 2015, the University of Houston Alumni Association presented him with the Distinguished Alumni award. His UH leadership volunteerism includes:

  • Chair of the Board of Visitors
  • Member of the Bauer College Advisory Board
  • Former member of the Dean's Advisory Board at Hilton College

After retiring in 2017, Aylwin and his wife of 35 years – Noveline – moved back to the Houston area in August 2018. He is enjoying his retirement by pursuing his interests in movies, sports, working out, travelling and learning.