James Hess Leach

Inducted: 2021
Born: 1959

James Leach, a resident of Providence, is a corporate executive with over forty years of experience in the public, private, and non-profit sectors, holding leadership and Board of Directors positions. Leach’s roles have spanned the globe, from operations in the Northeast, else­ where in the United States, China, and the United Kingdom. He is currently Senior Managing Director and Chairman of National Trust, a single-family office, managing the interests of the Leach Family, one of Rhode Island’s oldest industrial families, with interests in manufacturing, real estate, private equity, and technology. The family business originated in 1905 and has continued into its 4th generation.

Since the early 1980s, Mr. Leach and his real estate development company, Leach Family Holdings, pioneered the north­ eastern footprints of major retailers, including Wal-Mart, Stop & Shop Supermarkets, Shaw’s Supermarkets, Lowes Home Improvement, The Home Depot, and other major big-box retailers. In the 1990s, Leach was recognized and credited by the United States Environmental Protection Agency for his first­ in-the-nation conversion of a superfund site, where the plans for private development were incorporated. It is known as the Raymark Site in Stratford, Connecticut. Leach and his company were responsible for the entire project from the identification stage, through the $120 million clean-ups, to the major· retail shopping center still occupying the site today; The EPA took Leach’s plan and process, which shaped the EPA’s Superfund program, and incorporated it to become the model for the entire country.

Leach currently serves on the Board of Directors-and as the chairman of the Compensation Committee of Kenney Manufacturing Company, a 105-year-old manufacturer of household products with operations in Rhode Island, elsewhere in the U.S., and in China. Leach’s board of directors’ work also included Airborne Wireless Network, a high-speed broad­ band airborne wireless network linking telecommunications to rural areas using technology on commercial air­ craft in flight.

Leach is chairman emeritus of the Rhode Island PBS Foundation (WSBE-TV), Rhode Island’s most accessible learning source, treasurer of The Rectory School, a junior boarding school in Pomfret Connecticut; and vice chairman of the Tomo Synagogue Foundation in Newport, Rhode Island.

Leach’s former public service positions included board mem­ ber and chairman (2006-2009) of the Providence City Planning Commission, serving for over 20 years. During this tenure, the Planning Commission’s projects included the Providence River Relocation and the construction of the Rhode Island Convention Center and the Providence Place Mall. He has also been a trustee of the Providence Public Library; trustee of the Providence Children’s Museum, and a member of the Board of Governors of Lifespan/Miriam Hospital, a 247-bed teaching hospital affiliated with Brown University Medical School. He is also a director emeritus of the Rhode Island Heritage Hall of Fame.

Jim Leach holds a Bachelor of Arts in Finance from Nasson College in Sanford, Maine and has advanced his education at Georgia Institute of Technology and Harvard Business School.

Jim is joined at tonight’s induction by his mother Lenore, sons Jonathan and Alexander, sister Tracey and brother-in-law Russell.

Scroll to Top