Ex-Circuit City CEO, CarMax co-founder Sharp dies

Associated Press |

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Richard Sharp, longtime CEO of now-defunct electronics retailer Circuit City and co-founder of used-car dealership chain CarMax Inc., has died at 67.

According to CarMax and investment firm V-Ten Capital Partners, Sharp died Tuesday night at his home just outside Richmond from a rare form of Alzheimer's disease.

Before joining Circuit City in 1982, the Alexandria, Virginia, native led a custom hardware and software business development company he founded at age 27.

During Sharp's tenure as Circuit City's CEO from 1986 to 2000, the company's revenues grew from $175 million to $10.6 billion.

In the early 1990s, Sharp headed a team at Circuit City that led to the creation of CarMax, which has grown to more than 135 stores with revenue of $12.5 billion in its latest fiscal year. He retired as board chairman in 2007.

Sharp was "instrumental in the formation and development of CarMax — creating the vision for the revolutionary concept," CEO Tom Folliard said in a statement. "Rick's influence on the company is profound and will have a lasting impact."

Sharp, who also was a founding investor of footwear company Crocs Inc., was inducted into the Consumer Electronics Association Hall of Fame in 2008. He spent his later years promoting Alzheimer's disease research.

In the mid-1960s he studied electrical engineering and computer science at the University of Virginia and the College of William and Mary. He later attended Harvard Business School's Advanced Management Program.

Sharp is survived by Sherry, his wife of more than 45 years, his two adult daughters and four grandchildren.

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