William Austin Ligon (born ca. 1951) is the co-founder and retired CEO of CarMax. He retired in June 2006, and is now a private angel-stage investor. Among his recent investments are Gazelle, Redfin, Rev.com, Car Trade (India), Eneza Education (Kenya) and Tazza Kitchen. [1][2][3][4]

Austin Ligon
William Austin Ligon

Colorado, United States
CitizenshipUnited States
EducationUniversity of Texas, Austin
Yale School of Management
OccupationAngel Investor & former CEO of CarMax
Board member ofCenter for Talented Youth
St. John's College


Life and careerEdit

Ligon and Richard Sharp, then CEO of Circuit City, developed the CarMax idea together in 1991 and launched the first CarMax store in Richmond, Virginia, in 1993.[5] Austin became Sr. VP of Automotive in 1992, and President of CarMax in 1995. He led the company through a decade and a half of rapid growth, including its IPO as a tracking stock of Circuit City in 1997. He added the title of CEO upon the company’s spin off from Circuit City in 2002.[6][7] Ligon came to Circuit City from Marriott Corporation where he had been senior vice president of strategic planning for Marriott Hotels and Resorts. He joined Marriott in 1984 as director of corporate planning, and served as vice president of both marketing and concept general management in the family restaurant division.[8]

Ligon was previously a senior consultant for the Boston Consulting Group in London, England, from 1980 to 1983 and an independent financial consultant in Bangkok, Thailand during 1983-84. He worked as a health economist in Dallas and San Antonio during 1976-78, and was a Teaching Fellow in economics at the University of Texas at Austin from 1973 to 1976.

Civic InvolvementEdit

The primary focus of Ligon's community involvement is education. He is a member of the governing board of St. John’s College (Annapolis and Santa Fe), and, formerly, The University of Virginia and the University of Virginia Investment Management Company (UVIMCO). He was formerly an advisory board member of the Yale School of Management, the Plan II Honors Program at the University of Texas Austin, and advisory board chairman of the Center for Talented Youth (CTY) at Johns Hopkins University[9] Ligon created the “Ligon-Lamsam International Study Abroad” fund at the University of Texas at Austin.[10][11] He also serves on the board of several venture start-up companies.[2][12][13]


Ligon earned a B.A. in 1973 from the Plan II Honors program at the University of Texas at Austin, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa and was a member of the Tejas Club. He recently received a lifetime achievement award at The Tejas Club's 85th anniversary in October 2010. He studied at the Pontificia Universidad Catolica del Peru in Lima, Peru in 1972/73. He subsequently earned his M.A. in Economics in 1978 from the University of Texas at Austin, and an M.B.A. in 1980 from the Yale School of Management.


  1. ^ "Austin Ligon Appointed Gazelle Chairman: CarMax Co-Founder brings extensive retail experience to Gazelle" Reuters, April 7, 2011. Retrieved February 13, 2014.
  2. ^ a b "CarMax co-founder Austin Ligon joins Redfin board" Puget Sound Business Journal, September 23, 2010. Retrieved February 13, 2014.
  3. ^ "Rev.com freelance market launches with $4.5M funding" Silicon Valley Business Journal, March 26, 2013. Retrieved February 13, 2014.
  4. ^ "Used-car market rides the technology wave: Though the segment is relatively immune to downturn, the slow pace at which the market adapts to internet use is a challenge to Cartrade.com" Business Standard, January 20, 2014. Retrieved February 13, 2014.
  5. ^ "Reinventing the Store" Archived October 25, 2012, at the Wayback Machine Business Week, November 27, 1995. Retrieved January 19, 2011
  6. ^ "Austin Ligon and Carmax" Archived January 12, 2011, at the Wayback Machine Suzanne Ridgway, workingworld.com. Retrieved January 19, 2011
  7. ^ "The CarMax Timeline" carmax.com. Retrieved February 13, 2014. Archived (https://web.archive.org/web/20101221213546/http://www.carmax.com/enus/company-info/about-us-timeline.html, December 21, 2010)
  8. ^ "Austin Ligon" spoke.com. Retrieved January 17, 2011.
  9. ^ "UVIMCO Board of Directors" uvimco.com. Retrieved February 13, 2014.
  10. ^ "The Ligon-Lamsam Study Abroad Challenge: Plan II Alumnus Austin Ligon Gives $200,000 for Study Abroad, Encourages Others to Give" utexas.edu. Retrieved January 19, 2011
  11. ^ "Big Money for Plan II" Geoff Abraham, The Alcalde. Retrieved January 19, 2011
  12. ^ "Gazelle Board of Directors" gazelle.com. Retrieved February 13, 2014.
  13. ^ "CarTrade.com Board of Directors" Archived February 14, 2014, at the Wayback Machine cartrade.com. Retrieved February 13, 2014.

External linksEdit