James is a successful businessman, now retired in North Yorkshire. A graduate of Columbia Business School. In 1983 he co-founded First Leisure Corporation PLC. In 1988 he co-founded Northern Leisure plc and raised £36m in equity finance before establishing a group of 40 sites including bowling alleys and residential and care homes. In 1993, he joined City Centre Restaurants plc as CEO and increased sales from £89m to £205m achieving a 25% return on capital employed. James was High Sheriff Of Buckinghamshire and is now a non-exec Director of Burgess Group plc a Yorkshire based group. James lives in Sawley, near Ripon.