Ben Thompson has reported from all over the world for the BBC covering stories in Asia, the Middle East, Europe and America. It’s a job that’s seen him interview world leaders, company bosses and a few showbiz names along the way.
He began his BBC career in 2001 at Radio Wales in Cardiff. Whilst studying at university, he produced the network’s morning news programme, Good Morning Wales. He was then selected as a BBC Trainee Scheme, working in different parts of the newsroom and getting a taste for television.
After completing a degree in International Business and French at Cardiff University, and a postgraduate diploma in Broadcast Journalism, Ben moved to London to start work in the Business & Economics Unit of BBC News. There, he was the business producer for the rolling news service BBC News 24 and the BBC’s international news channel, BBC World. In that job, Ben got to grips with explaining how global trade was reshaping business and the impact of big business on our everyday lives.
He later joined BBC Breakfast as a producer, swapping international time zones for night shifts and early mornings to explain how money, savings, pensions and pay affect the money in our pockets and our own personal finances.
In 2008, Ben moved in front of the camera to become the BBC’s Middle East Business Correspondent. Based in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, Ben spent three years travelling the length and breadth of the region including Egypt, Algeria, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Qatar, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.
Particularly challenging stories included covering the Dubai Financial Crisis, reporting from Egypt and Tunisia during the ‘Arab Spring’ uprisings and the growing tensions in Syria. Reporting a mix of breaking stories, ‘hard news’, documentary features and lighter stories, Ben anchored the BBC’s live coverage for the opening of Dubai’s Burj Khalifa and the Palm Jumeirah. He also presented the BBC’s flagship news programme from the region, BBC Middle East Business Report.
From there, Ben returned to the UK to become the Business Presenter for the BBC News Channel at a particularly busy time for the global economy. As the financial crisis dominated the headlines, Ben kept viewers updated with the latest business and market news and the economic fallout of the global debt crisis. He also helped make sense of complex moves in global markets and the actions of bankers and politicians around the world as they tried to contain the growing crisis.
Soon after, Ben moved to New York to become the BBC’s North America Business Correspondent. On Wall Street every morning, he reported live from the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, before meeting business leaders, technology entrepreneurs and international investors in one of the world’s financial capitals. With the financial crisis still dominating the headlines, it proved to be a particularly volatile period for global stock markets.
And that volatility continued when Ben covered Hurricane Sandy as it hit New York. When half a million New York residents were evacuated, Ben ran the other way – to the BBC bureau – to keep global viewers up to date. For two days he reported almost continuously for BBC TV and radio (whilst sleeping in the office) and spent days without power and water at his apartment in the city. Whilst based in New York, Ben also covered the US Presidential Elections and the deadlock in American politics that nearly pushed the US economy into bankruptcy.
Currently based in the UK, Ben Thompson presents on Breakfast as well as co-hosting Business Live, the BBC's daily business programme broadcast around the world on the BBC News Channel and BBC World News.