Akatsuki was an overwhelming organization which existed outside shinobi villages. Over the years, they took many different forms, under many different leaders.
Here are all 5 known leaders of the Akatsuki in Naruto.
Yahiko was the first leader and the founder of Akatsuki. He was a war orphan, who, alongside Nagato and also Konan, formed this organization in the hopes of achieving world peace.
However, Yahiko met his death the day Konan got captured, and ultimately, couldn’t fulfill his dream.