Leon C. Richardson was born in Hamtramck, Michigan, and was raised in West Haven, Connecticut. He attended the West Haven Public School System before moving on to collegiate programs and a military tour. Richardson served in the United States Marine Corps for eight years in the enlisted ranks as a non-commissioned officer. While serving in the Marine Corps and stationed on the East Coast, he enrolled in the University of Maryland off-campus program to pursue a business management degree. Leon later relocated to Michigan and continued his pursuit of a business management degree at the Detroit College of Business. Richardson also completed several executive management programs at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College and the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan.
Richardson is chairman of the National Association of Black Suppliers, a board member of both the Michigan Minority Supplier Development Council and co-chair of the General Motors Supplier Diversity Counsel. He is also a former executive board member of Suppliers for the Environment and the Chemical Management Suppliers forum.