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John Defterios

Professor of Business, NYU Abu Dhabi

John Defterios is veteran, award winning journalist and economic analyst with more than 35 years of experience at CNN, Reuters and PBS Television in the United States. 

John recently retired as CNN Business’ Emerging Markets Editor and Anchor. Based in the network’s Abu Dhabi bureau since 2011, his reporting focused on the top business stories from emerging economies, with a specialty in trade, geo-politics and energy.

He is a Strategic Senior Advisor for the global public affairs firm APCO Worldwide, board member in media and the youth development arenas, Professor of Business at NYU-Abu Dhabi and World Economic Forum Energy Fellow.

Defterios arrived to the UAE during the regional uprisings of the Arab Spring and covered the economic rebuilding and challenges across the region.  Major story coverage included:  the impact of Covid-19 on the global economy, oil prices collapsing into negative territory for the first time, the Ritz Carlton crackdown on corruption and the passing of King Abdullah in Saudi Arabia.   He was key member of the CNN team that won the coveted Alfred I. duPont award at Columbia University for in-country coverage in Saudi Arabia between 2017-18.  

Defterios remains a sought after fixture at high-level global events as both a speaker and moderator. He chairs sessions at the World Economic Forum, the OPEC Seminar, IMF Global Roundtable, St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, ADIPEC, Atlantic Council Global Energy Forum, U.A.E. World Government Summit, Gastech, Global Manufacturing & Industrializaton Summit (GMIS), The Milken Institute, IRENA General Assembly, Euromoney Roundtables, Economist Global Summits, U.S.-Saudi Arabia Investment Summit, Islamic Development Bank Annual Meeting, , Stern Stewart Institute, Global Women’s Forum, UNWTO Global Tourism Council, World Energy Council, World Utilites Forum, Saudi Arabia’s Future Investment Initiative and many others.

Defterios covered some of the landmarks events during his career including the Gulf War, the fall of the Berlin Wall, the World Trade Centre bombings and G8/G20 summits, the L.A. Riots from his postings in London, Washington, New York, Los Angeles, Rome and the U.A.E.

Defterios built a long-standing reputation for securing exclusive interviews with high-level figures during breaking news situations including: HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rachid, Prime Minister of the  UAE and Ruler of Dubai, King Abdullah II of Jordan, Ali Al Naimi, Khalid Al Falih & Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman, Energy Ministers of Saudi Arabia, which frequently moved oil markets.   He received The Abdullah bin Hamad Al-Attiyah International Foundation award for the Advancement of Energy Journalism in 2019 and the International Association of Energy Economics (IAEE) Award for energy journalism in 2023.

Defterios was a World Economic Forum media leader from 1995-2021, a member of the Global Agenda Council on the Arab World and is a WEF Energy Fellow.  He also serves on the board of the Stern Stewart Institute in Germany, a non-for-profit group promoting leadership and entrepreneurship.

Prior to CNN, Defterios worked for Reuters Television as European Correspondent, U.S. West Coast Correspondent and special series producer in a joint-venture with The Nightly Business Report on PBS-TV.

He graduated from the University of Southern California with a BA in Journalism and Political Economics and was a fellow at the USC’s Institute of Politics and Government in Washington DC.

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