Executive Bios

General William Lyon

General William Lyon

Chairman Emeritus

General Lyon has enjoyed an illustrious, distinguished career as a successful businessman, decorated member of the military and an active supporter of the community. He first entered the homebuilding business in 1954 and his companies have since produced more than 100,000 residential units spanning more than 60 years. In recognition of his many achievements, General Lyon was inducted into the California Building Industry “Hall of Fame” in June 1985. He was also the Chairman and CEO of AirCal and acquired Martin Aviation in 2009.

General Lyon flew combat missions in World War II and Korea. He has been decorated with numerous awards and honors, including the Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit and the Distinguished Flying Cross. In the 1970s he also served at the Pentagon as Chief of the Air Force Reserve.

General Lyon is a much-admired and respected member of the community and currently serves as a director on the board for the Segerstrom Center for the Arts. He was the founding chairman of the Orangewood Children’s Foundation and past chairman of the Boy Scouts of America, Orange County Council.


William H. Lyon

William H. Lyon

Executive Chairman of the Board

Mr. Lyon currently serves as Executive Chairman of the Board. He first joined the company in 1997 and has served in varied capacities, including Assistant Project Manager, Project Manager, Director of Corporate Development, Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer. He has also held the positions of President and Chief Operating Officer, Chief Executive Officer and President of William Lyon Financial.

Mr. Lyon is active in the Orange County community and serves as a Board Member for the Commercial Bank of California as well as Pretend City Children’s Museum. He was on The Bowers Museum Board of Governors until 2014 and is currently an honorary member. He earned a dual Bachelor’s of Science degree in Industrial Engineering and Product Design from Stanford University.


Matthew R. Zaist

Matthew R. Zaist

Chief Executive Officer and President

As Chief Executive Officer and President, Mr. Zaist is responsible for the management of the company overall strategic objectives and operations. Mr. Zaist continues to lead as as a member of the Executive Committee and Chairman of the Land Committee. In his prior capacity as President, Mr. Zaist oversaw and managed William Lyon Homes’ IPO in 2013 and before that its recapitalization efforts in 2011. He joined the company in 2000.

Mr. Zaist is a member of the Executive Committee for USC’s Lusk Center for Real Estate. He earned a Bachelor’s of Science degree from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York.


Colin T. Severn

Colin T. Severn

Chief Financial Officer

Mr. Severn joined the William Lyon Homes team in 2003 and served in various accounting and finance roles, culminating with his promotion to Chief Financial Officer in 2009. In his current position he oversees the company's accounting, finance, treasury and investor relations functions and is a member of the Land Committee.

Mr.Severn’s career has spanned more than 20 years in real estate accounting and finance, including positions with an international accounting firm and other homebuilding corporations. He earned a Bachelor’s of Art degree in Business Administration with concentrations in Accounting and Finance from California State University, Fullerton and is a Certified Public Accountant in the state of California.