April 6, 2007 -- W. Austin Ligon, co-founder and former president and chief executive officer of CarMax, has been appointed to the University of Virginia's Board of Visitors by Gov. Tim Kaine.
In addition to appointing Ligon, Gov. Kaine reappointed three other board members —Susan Y. (Syd) Dorsey of Mechanicsville, Va.; L. F. Payne of Charlottesville, Va.; and John O. Wynne of Virginia Beach, Va.
“I look forward to great service to the University from these three outstanding individuals I have reappointed,” Kaine said. “I anticipate great service to the board from Mr. Ligon as well, whose career has been marked by innovation and effective leadership.”
Ligon, whose appointment will be effective with the April 12 meeting, will replace Georgia Willis Fauber, of Lynchburg, Va., who served one four-year term. “Georgia Fauber has been a deeply committed board member, particularly in her leadership as the chairman of the audit committee,” said Leonard W. Sandridge, U.Va.’s executive vice president and chief operating officer. “I can't think of many members in the past who represented the board so well and so often at University events. We will miss her enthusiasm for the work of the board and for furthering the goals of the University.”
Sandridge called the reappointments of the three members “good news” for those who work with the Board of Visitors. “The continuity,” he said, “is an important part of it. These are complicated jobs.”
In addition, Sandridge said that Ligon, who has been a member of the University of Virginia Foundation Board since June 2006, will bring “vision and experience” to his new appointment. “He understands the importance of collaboration and is a real leader,” Sandridge said.
Ligon developed the concept for CarMax, the nation's largest retailer of used cars, with Rick Sharp, then-Circuit City CEO. The first CarMax store was opened in Richmond, Va., in 1993. Ligon was senior vice president, automotive, for Circuit City and then became president of CarMax in 1995. He led the company through its initial public offering in 1997 and became chief executive officer in 2002 when CarMax spun off from Circuit City. He was also senior vice president of corporate planning for Circuit City from 1991 to 1995.
In June 2006, Ligon retired from CarMax, which operates 74 used car superstores in 35 markets throughout the United States. CarMax was twice named one of Fortune magazine's "100 Best Companies to Work For" and was also Fortune's "Most Admired" company in automotive series and retailing.
Ligon earned a bachelor of arts degree with special honors from the University of Texas at Austin, where he majored in economics and government in the Plan II Honors program and graduated Phi Beta Kappa. He earned his master's degree in economics from the University of Texas and an M.B.A. from the Yale School of Management.
Prior to joining Circuit City, Ligon had worked with Marriott Corporation and Boston Consulting Group. He also had been an independent financial consultant in Thailand and a health economist in Dallas and San Antonio, Tx.
Ligon was appointed to the University of Virginia Foundation Board in June 2006. He is a member of the Yale School of Management Advisory Board and the Virginia Commonwealth Business School Foundation. He has been a board member of the Center for Talented Youth at Johns Hopkins University and serves on the Maggie L. Walker Governor's School Renovation Foundation.