Chuck Lillis is a native of Overland Park, Kan., and the first in his middle-class family to attend college. He received his bachelor's degree and his master's degree in business administration from the University of Washington, and his doctorate in 1972 from the UO's Lundquist College of Business. Lillis was a co-founder of the Financial and Securities Analysis Center at the UO's Lundquist College of Business; he and his wife, Gwendolyn Lillis, made the lead gift for construction of a new business school building in 2001.
Lillis began his career as a business professor at Washington State University, shifted to General Electric as director of corporate marketing and research, then served briefly as dean of business at the University of Colorado at Boulder. He joined US West as vice president of marketing in 1985 and became executive vice president and chief planning officer two years later. Lillis became CEO and chairman of MediaOne, a US West spinoff, in 1995 and the company – whose business involved wireless business and the delivery of broadband over cable – was sold to AT&T in 2000 for $62.5 billion. Lillis was co-founder and principal of LoneTree Capital, a private equity investment firm, and co-founder and managing partner of Castle Pines Capital, a privately held provider of channel financing in the technology industries. Castle Pines Capital was acquired by Wells Fargo Bank in 2011.
He has been a member of the foundation boards at the University of Washington and the University of Colorado at Boulder, and has served on the boards of private and public companies including Williams Co., Medco and SuperValu. He is a member of the board of SomaLogic, a privately held biotechnology company and DISH. He also serves as a trustee of the Lillis Foundation and is a U.S. Army Veteran. Lillis and his wife Gwen have three children and eight grandchildren.