Howard H. Leach

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Howard Leach
United States Ambassador to France
In office
July 16, 2001 – April 16, 2005
PresidentGeorge W. Bush
Preceded byFelix Rohatyn
Succeeded byCraig Roberts Stapleton
Personal details
Born (1930-06-19) June 19, 1930 (age 93)
Salinas, California, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
Residence(s)Palm Beach, Florida, U.S.
Alma materYale University (B.S.)
Stanford Graduate School of Business

Howard H. Leach (born June 19, 1930) is an American diplomat and businessman. He served as the United States Ambassador to France from 2001 to 2005.[1][2]

Early life and education[edit]

Leach was born in Salinas, California. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Yale University in 1952. He studied at Stanford Graduate School of Business in 1953 and at the Stanford Advanced Management College in 1968.[3]


Business career[edit]

A businessman and private investor, Leach began his 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 major shareholder of Tejon Ranch Company. He also invested in the Royal Packing Company, Merit Packaging Co., Larson Cooling Co., Cypress Farms Inc., Charles G. Watts Inc., Union Ice Company, Sterling Inc. in Wisconsin, Kestrel Dental Corp., and Sybron Corporation. He was an early limited partner in Forstmann Little & Company. He was also the president of Foley Timber and Land Company, Leach Capital, Leach McMicking & Company, and Hunter Fan.

Diplomatic career[edit]

Leach 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",[4] nevertheless refusing to learn a word of French, which did not help to smooth the way between the Elysée Palace and the White House during the Chirac-Bush clash on the Iraq war in 2003 according to the French press.[5]


He was directly involved in managing a number of public interest associations, including 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.[6] Je has donated in excess of US$50,000 to the American Hospital of Paris in Neuilly-sur-Seine.[7]

Personal life[edit]

Leach is a former member and past chairman of the Regents of the University of California. He is married to Gretchen Leach, a philanthropist.[7] They reside in Palm Beach, Florida.[8]


  1. ^ Department Of State. The Office of Electronic Information, Bureau of Public Affairs. "Leach, Howard H." Retrieved 2019-12-14.
  2. ^ "President Bush to Nominate Leach as Ambassador to France". Retrieved 2019-12-14.
  3. ^ "Council of American Ambassadors > Members > Howard H Leach". Council of American Ambassadors. Archived from the original on 12 July 2012. Retrieved 28 May 2013.
  4. ^ Report of Inspection: Embassy Paris, France, and Constituent Posts (PDF) (Report). Office of the Inspector General of the Department of State. 2005. p. 7. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2009-08-13. Retrieved 2009-09-08.
  5. ^ "CIA, ambassades, santé… Joe Biden fait le ménage dans la haute administration". 18 January 2021.
  6. ^ "Howard H Leach". Hoover Institution of Stanford University. Retrieved 28 May 2013.
  7. ^ a b American Hospital of Paris Foundation: Donors Archived 2013-11-20 at
  8. ^ Hofheinz, Darrell. "A $5.3M townhouse deal proves to be quite neighborly". Palm Beach Daily News. Retrieved 2019-12-14.

External links[edit]

Diplomatic posts
Preceded by U.S. Ambassador to France
Succeeded by