Retail/Wholesale: MICHAEL AKROP
CEO, LEESA SLEEP LLC, VIRGINIA BEACH
Leesa executives wooed Akrop to the American-made mattress company in 2018, seeking his 15-plus years of experience in building up e-commerce startups like Vroom, which matches sellers and buyers of cars online, and Zappos.com, an online shoe retailer.
“They put me up at a hotel right on the Oceanfront at a beautiful time of year,” Akrop explained in a 2020 episode of “Tage Talks Business,” a Hampton Roads-based podcast. “They knew what they were doing.”
In early 2021, Akrop, who was president and chief operating officer at Leesa, stepped into the CEO role, replacing interim CEO John Replogle, a partner at One Better Ventures LLC, a venture capital firm invested in Leesa.
After graduating from Indiana University Bloomington with a bachelor’s degree in accounting in 1994, Akrop stayed in the Hoosier state, working in industries ranging from sports management to health care. In 2006, he joined Zappos, rising to vice president of finance, reporting directly to high-profile CEO Tony Hsieh, who died in 2020.
Founded in 2015, Leesa is a B Corporation, certified as meeting high standards in social and environmental performance. It donates one mattress for every 10 sold.