The Richard L. Sharp Viewpoint Speakers Series was established in 2011 in honor of Richard L. Sharp, a nationally recognized entrepreneur, to present competing views on topics crucial to our nation and global society.
Sharp was a recognized thought leader and an exemplar of personal and professional integrity who served as a mentor to aspiring business and community leaders. His professional career included the founding of Applied Systems, Inc. in 1975. In 1982 he joined Circuit City as executive vice president and led its development as a national consumer electronics retailer from 1984 to 2002 and also served as president, chief executive officer, and chairman of the board. Under his leadership, Circuit City developed into one of the nation’s Fortune 500 businesses.
Throughout the 1990s he masterminded Circuit City’s venture into CarMax, which revolutionized the automotive retail industry, growing it into the nation’s largest retailer of previously owned cars. He retired as chairman of the board in June 2007. Most recently he served as chairman of the board of Crocs, Inc. from 2005 to 2010. He was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s Disease in late 2010 but continued to demonstrate his values of leading by example, helping shape the landscape of Virginia through his personal philanthropy, and by inspiring and motivating others to give back to their community. Sharp passed away on Tuesday, June 24, 2014, at his home.