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Richard Sharp, Former Circuit City CEO, Dies At 67

Richmond, Va. – Richard Sharp, 67, former president/CEO of Circuit City and member of the CE Hall of Fame, died Tuesday night.

According to a report from the Richmond Times-Dispatch Sharp died from posterior cortical atrophy, a rare form of Alzheimer’s disease, his wife said. He was diagnosed in October 2010 with early-onset Alzheimer’s, a disease that also afflicted his grandfather, father and uncle.

According to his bio from the Consumer Electronics Association’s CE Hall of Fame site, Sharp started his career as a computer programmer and founded Applied Systems Corp. (ACS) in 1975, serving as CEO and developing custom hardware and software business systems well-suited for major retailers.

That’s how Sharp met Alan Wurtzel of Wards TV, precursor to Circuit City in 1978 and joined Wards in 1982 as an executive VP.

In 1984, the company renamed itself Circuit City and Sharp was elected president. He was named CEO in 1986 and chairman and CEO in 1990.

During his tenure, the number of Circuit City stores mushroomed from dozens to hundreds; revenues grew from $175 million to $12.6 billion, the chain went national and for several years became the number one CE retail chain in the country.

From 1990 to 2000, Sharp simultaneously served as chairman and CEO of Circuit City spin-off CarMax and led the team that created the consumer-friendly used car concept. He retired from Circuit City’s day-to-day management in 2000 and retired as CarMax’s chairman of the board in 2007.

According to the Richmond Times-Dispatch his family created the Stay Sharp Fund to Cure Alzheimer’s to begin raising funds for research. The family suggested memorial donations be made to that fund. The burial will be private. A memorial service will be held at a later date.