James graduated from University College with a BA in Geography in 1982.
Thereafter he qualified as a Chartered accountant with Pricewaterhouse and worked as an investment banker for 8 years with Kleinwort Benson in the City of London.
For the last 30 years he has worked in various roles in East Asia for the Jardine Matheson Group including 11 years as Group Finance Director.
For the last 8 years he has been Chief Executive Officer of the Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group, stepping down in July 2023. James was also a Non-Executive Director of Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation for 5 years and has been chairman of the Royal Geographical Society / Hong Kong branch for the last 20 years.
James was a keen triathlete and travels widely with a particular interest in a variety of historical and geographical themes.