Leigh-Pemberton is the son of former Governor of the Bank of England and life-peer Robin Leigh-Pemberton, Baron Kingsdown and Rosemary Davina Forbes, , only daughter of Lt Col David Walter Arthur William Forbes . He was educated at Eton and Christ Church, Oxford. He started his career at S. G. Warburg & Co. before becoming a Managing Director at Credit Suisse, Investment Banking in London. On 7 July 2008, he was appointed CEO of Credit Suisse's businesses in the UK.
- Mosley, Charles, ed. (2003). Burke's Peerage, Baronetage & Knighthood (107 ed.). Burke's Peerage & Gentry. p. 2178. ISBN 0-9711966-2-1.
- The Rainmaker: Banking with a straight bat by Martin Baker, Sunday Telegraph 24 December 2006
- James Leigh-Pemberton Appointed Chief Executive Officer of Credit Suisse in the United Kingdom Press Release 8 July 2008
- Charity Commission website
- "No. 60534". The London Gazette (Supplement). 15 June 2013. p. 3.