Howard H. Leach

Howard H. Leach
60th United States Ambassador to France
In office
July 16, 2001  April 16, 2005
Preceded by Felix Rohatyn
Succeeded by Craig Roberts Stapleton
Personal details
Born Salinas, California
Nationality American
Political party Republican

Howard H. Leach is an American diplomat, college administrator and philanthropist. He served as the United States Ambassador to France from 2001 to 2005.


Early life

Howard H. Leach was born in Salinas, California. He obtained a Bachelor of Science degree from Yale University in 1952. He studied at Stanford Graduate School of Business in 1953 and at Stanford Advanced Management College in 1968.[1]

Business career

A businessman and private investor, he began a long entrepreneurial career as co-founder and president of various food-processing corporations from 1958 to 1971 in his hometown of Salinas, California. From 1995 to 2000, he served as president and often major shareholder of numerous businesses: Tejon Ranch Company, Royal Packing Company, Merit Packing Co., Larson Cooling Co., Cypress Farms Inc., Charles G. Watts Inc., and Union Ice Company in California; Sterling Inc. in Wisconsin; Kestrel Dental Corp. in Illinois; and Sybron Corporation in New York. He was an early limited partner in Forstmann Little and Co. in New York. He was also the president of several commercial and financial companies: Foley Timber and Land Company in Florida; Leach Capital and Leach McMicking & Co. in California; and Hunter Fan Co. in Tennessee.

Diplomatic career

He served as United States Ambassador to France from 2001 to 2005. He was rated highly by the Office of the Inspector General of the Department of State. A 2005 report by the OIG stated that he demonstrated "a solid knowledge of issues across the spectrum of both policy and management priorities at the embassy".[2]

College administration

He is a member and former chairman of the Board of Regent of the University of California.


He was directly involved in managing a number of public interest associations, such as the National Legal Research Center for the Public Interest in Washington and the Pacific Research Institute in San Francisco. He was also vice president of the San Francisco Opera Association.[3] Additionally, he has donated in excess of US$50,000 to the American Hospital of Paris in Neuilly-sur-Seine.[4]

Personal life

He is married to Gretchen Leach, a philanthropist.[4] They reside in Palm Beach, Florida.


  1. "Council of American Ambassadors > Members > Howard H Leach". Council of American Ambassadors. Retrieved 28 May 2013.
  2. Report of Inspection: Embassy Paris, France, and Constituent Posts (PDF) (Report). Office of the Inspector General of the Department of State. 2005. p. 7. Retrieved 2009-09-08.
  3. "Howard H Leach". Hoover Institution of Stanford University. Retrieved 28 May 2013.
  4. 1 2 American Hospital of Paris Foundation: Donors
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Felix Rohatyn
U.S. Ambassador to France
Succeeded by
Craig Roberts Stapleton
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