Former CEO of Circuit City Stores, Alan Wurtzel led Circuit City to be one of the nation’s largest retailers of consumer electronics and appliances. He joined the company in 1966 as Vice President of Legal Affairs, served as CEO from 1972 to 1986. He was Chairman of the Board from 1984 to 1994 and Vice-Chairman from 1994 to 2001. Circuit City was profiled as one of 11 companies in Jim Collins’ bestselling book, Good to Great.
Since retiring from Circuit City, Wurtzel has split his time between for profit and not for profit activities. Early on, much of his time was devoted to higher education and K-12 educational reform. He’s served as a trustee of Virginia Commonwealth University, a member of the Virginia Board of Education and the State Council for Higher Education. He was also a director of several not-for-profit standards-based education policy organizations including New American Schools, National Center of Education and the Economy, and the Council for Basic Education. As a member of Virginia’s State Board of Education, he actively participated in the formulation and adoption of the current Standards of Learning program.
In the private sector, Wurtzel served as Director of Dollar Tree Stores, Inc., and from 1989 to 1996, he served on the Board of Office Depot. He has been an active investor in startup companies and remains on the Board of two privately held companies.
Currently Wurtzel is a trustee of The Phillips Collection, where he has been active in developing and spearheading its expansion and investment plans, and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, an environmental group dedicated to saving the Bay and his alma mater, Oberlin College.
Wurtzel received a B.A. from Oberlin College and a J.D. from Yale Law School. He is married to the playwright, Irene Rosenberg Wurtzel, and has three grown children. He lives in Washington, D.C. and Delaplane, Virginia.