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September 20, 2005

Do You Know This Man?

boo_aylwinLewis_150x180.jpgThis gentleman is probably the most unknown superstar on the planet. You have to admit that he's rather unassuming looking, and yet he has influenced American life in profound ways. I'm predicting that his next success is going to propel him into something of a cult hero, if he's not already that. His name is Aylwin Lewis.

OK here's a clue:

Aylwin Lewis stepped before an audience of about 80 people Sept. 8 and received an enthusiastic ovation. And consider who these fans were: H. Carl McCall, former New York State comptroller and gubernatorial candidate; Hugh Price, former president of the National Urban League; John Rogers, CEO of Ariel Capital Management; Charles Tribbett, principal at Russell Reynolds Assoc.; and more of the most powerful African Americans in Corporate America.

Now you're probably getting the idea that he may have something to do with business. You're right. But how big could this guy be? Can't guess? Alright, enough with the suspense. This is the man who made YUM Brands. Yes, that's right. He's the one whose idea it was to merge Taco Bell, KFC, Long John Silvers, Pizza Hut and A&W. Wow you say? But that's all in the past. Aylwin Lewis has been there and done that, now he's the CEO of Sears.

Huh? What? You mean that Sears? Yes, that Sears & Roebuck and guess what, KMart too.

From Business Week:

I'm 51-years-old, and 51 years ago I didn't even have the right to think that I could have a job like this. I had great parents and I have a great wife. Growing up, we lived in the projects. I had big dreams.

But I could have lived a great American dream running a hundred restaurants for KFC. That would have been a nice career that would have been very good success, particularly for a black person. So it means a lot, keeping this door open. The history of this thing, the importance of this thing, yeah, you betcha it's important. And it's not a burden. It's a wind in my sail.

Now you know.

Posted by mbowen at September 20, 2005 07:06 AM

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There was an eensy write up of him in FORTUNE's August special called "The Power of Diversity: Who's Got the Clout" (Aug 22). It *is* encouraging to know there's more where he came from and more going where he's been.

"And it's not a burden. It's a wind in my sail."

That's one of the most beautiful, moving quotes I've read in some time. I wish I were that brave. Ah, well, I know my place is in artillery/logistical support.

Posted by: memer [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 20, 2005 09:02 AM

Yep, I read about him when he got the job.


Didn't you say that Black conservatives don't need to do the "Black example" thing? ;-)

Posted by: DarkStar [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 20, 2005 03:52 PM