Obama Foundation names CFO

Ralph Leslie

Staff Writer

The Barack Obama Foundation, on Tuesday, named Ralph Leslie as Chief Financial Officer. Leslie’s role as Chief Financial Officer entails overseeing the financial planning for the Obama Foundation including accounting and budget operations.

“As a lifelong Chicagoan, it is a great honor to join the Obama Foundation as it works to become an institution within the South Side community and beyond,” Leslie said in a written statement. “The Obama Foundation has an ambitious set of goals – from establishing the Obama Presidential Center to developing programming available to the community, the country and the world. I look forward to working with the entire Obama Foundation team to make those goals a reality.”

Leslie has more than 25 years of experience in financial management, administration, and strategy under his belt.

“We are thrilled to have Ralph join our team and bring his expertise and impressive background to the Obama Foundation. Through his work with some of the most well-known companies in the world, Ralph is a terrific addition to our team at this important and exciting time,” David Simas, chief executive officer of the Obama Foundation, said in a written statement.

Recently, Leslie served as chief financial officer (CFO) at Navy Pier Inc. (NPI). At NPI, Leslie oversaw all aspects of accounting and finance, human resources and purchasing.

Prior to that, he served as vice president and CFO with the Ounce of Prevention Fund, a national non-for-profit focused on early childhood education. Before joining Ounce, Leslie was director of finance for the beverage division of PepsiCo.

His career began with Cargill, Inc., in Minneapolis, Minn., where he worked as an auditor.

He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting from Chicago State University and an MBA from the University of St. Thomas in Minneapolis, Minn., he also completed post graduate business courses at the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management.

Leslie has also been an instructor at South Suburban College in South Holland, Ill.; he taught management and marketing courses. He is a member of the Board of Directors of Easter Seals of Metropolitan Chicago and serves on the finance committee.