Bleakley, who set up the company's North American office in New York in 1995, is leaving to continue her charity work in Vietnam and adopt a second child. She announced the move on her blog (http://hanoioichoioi.wordpress.com/2010/06/15/life-changes/).
Beggars chairman Martin Mills says, "I am very happy indeed that Matt Harmon has agreed to take on the leadership of Beggars in the USA on a permanent basis and am completely confident that the successes of his stewardship over the last year will grow and grow.
"Lesley has built our American business from next to nothing to an operation capable of having number one albums over a period of fifteen years with selfless devotion and commitment, and we owe her a huge debt which we shall never forget - but of course, whilst being very sad to see her leave her current role, we are entirely supportive of her personal decision that her family must at this point come first for her."
Bleakley will continue to work for the company in a number of roles, initially remote working in Vietnam and then locally when she returns.
Harmon started with Beggars in 1998 as head of sales. He has been general manager since 2007, taking a more prominent role during Bleakley's sabbatical.
Harmon says, "Lesley has been a mentor and major force in my years at Beggars. I'm thankful for this incredible opportunity and look forward to building on the successes of the two albums we've had chart in the top three already had this year."
Beggars has also promoted Adam Farrell to VP of marketing for Beggars US and Adam Carroll to VP of finance for the group.