John Gapper

Chief Business Commentator, Financial Times
Author, How To Be A Rogue Trader

One of the foremost interpreters of the Wall Street mind.

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Biography

2013 Gerald Loeb Award winner for Commentary

A respected journalist for the Financial Times, John Gapper brings fascinating insights into the methods, motivations, and madness behind the high-finance, risk-taking cultures of New York’s Wall Street and London’s City.

John has made a specialty of covering financial crises, financial malfeasance, and fraudsters like Bernie Madoff.

In his widely-read articles and opinion pieces, he covers and comments upon business events with a unique global perspective. His work includes insightful interviews with moguls like Howard Schultz, and colorful, freewheeling takes on newsmakers like Rupert Murdoch, Lloyd Blankfein, and Mark Zuckerberg.

John is the author of the ebook titled How to be a Rogue Trader and co-author (with Nick Denton) of All That Glitters: The Fall of Barings, the definitive account of the collapse of Barings, London’s oldest merchant bank, including the story of infamous rogue trader Nick Leeson.

His explorations of the underbelly of the financial world have led him to write a financial novel titled A Fatal Debt.

He has written extensively and speaks about the media and high-tech industries, the troubles of the US auto industry, the future of digital news and entertainment, innovation and venture capital, and corporate PR crises such as the BP oil spill.

John writes occasionally for New York magazine as well as the Financial Times, and he also co-writes the FT’s widely-followed business blog.

John is an experienced panel moderator running sessions on a wide variety of financial and business topics. He makes regular appearances on television and radio, including on the BBC, CNBC and CNN.

Credentials

  • Associate Editor, Chief Business Commentator, Financial Times
  • Founding Editor, Financial Times Op-Ed Page
  • Business Commentator Winner, The Comment Awards from Editorial Intelligence 2011
  • Named best technology writer, best communicator, UK Business Journalist of the Year Awards
  • Opinion Column Winner, 2011 Society of American Business Editors and Writers Awards
  • Named one of the 100 most influential men in Britain, GQ magazine
  • Journalist, Daily Mail, Daily Mirror, Daily Telegraph
  • Graduate, Exeter College, Oxford University

Books

The Ghost Shift

A Novel

John Gapper

In the tradition of Gorky Park, John Gapper’s new thriller takes readers inside the secretive and dangerous world of modern China, as a young woman makes a haunting discovery — one that forces her to choose between duty to her government and a desperate desire to learn the truth about herself.

This wasn’t just a body in a field. The corpse’s shape was hers — same length, same curves. Then she knew, and everything else receded to nothingness. All she could see was a woman with the same nose, the same eyes, and the same face.

Her twin.

As an up-and-coming agent of the Commission for Discipline Inspection, Song Mei probes political corruption, not mysterious deaths. But that changes when she arrives on the scene of a grim police investigation and is confronted with a crime — and a victim — impossible to ignore. Despite strict orders and even threats from superiors, Mei knows there can be no turning away.

Breaking protocol, Mei undertakes a covert search for the truth about the mystery woman’s death — and life — by following in her footsteps from a factory plagued by worker suicides to a luxury hotel dealing in high-end escorts to an American home haunted by tragedy. But when Mei crosses paths with an ex–CIA operative on a shadowy mission of his own, her personal quest takes a jarring turn into political and industrial espionage that pits both agents against the highest ranks of communism and capitalism.

Ballantine Books (January 20, 2015)

A Fatal Debt

A Novel

John Gapper

This timely debut thriller by an award-winning Financial Times columnist is a gripping tale of lethal intrigue set in the high-stakes Wall Street world — where wealth and privilege are no match for jealousy and betrayal.

Ben Cowper, an attending psychiatrist at the prestigious New York–Episcopal Hospital, is stunned to learn the identity of the emergency patient he’s just been assigned to treat: Harry Shapiro, a Wall Street colossus and one of Episcopal’s most prominent donors. But a high-profile reversal of fortune has left the once powerful investment banker jobless, bitter, and possibly desperate — judging by the handgun his wife finds him clutching. In Ben’s expert opinion, Shapiro is a suicide waiting to happen. But when the headstrong financier balks at an extended stay in the hospital psych ward, Ben reluctantly releases him, bowing to political pressure from Episcopal’s chief administrator, who’s more concerned with the patient’s money than his mind.

Days later, the shocking news breaks: There’s been a shooting death in Harry Shapiro’s Hamptons mansion. But even more shocking is the identity of the victim. A tragedy sets in motion an explosive chain of events that turns Ben Cowper’s life upside-down.

As hard-nosed cops close in with harder questions, the hospital closes ranks to protect its own interests. But with colleagues freezing Ben out, innocent circumstances conspire to incriminate him. Hounded by a DA who’s out for blood, and haunted by the specter of a shattered career, Ben has no choice: He must delve into the hearts and minds of the people who know Harry best, uncover the secrets they’d rather die — or kill — to keep, and expose the truth behind a web of malice disguised as madness.

Ballantine Books (June 26, 2012)

Read an Excerpt

Review

A novel take on the financial crisisCNN Money

Praise

"Is John Gapper a journalist with a novelist’s heart, or a novelist with a journalist’s instinct? Either way, he tells a great story."
— Lee Child, #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Reacher series

"John Gapper puts together an irresistible package: A psychiatrist pursuing a Wall Street murder mystery, while fighting for his reputation and maybe his life. This is a neatly crafted and well-written thriller, which shows why Gapper is a must-read columnist in the Financial Times. An audacious, assured debut."
— David Ignatius, columnist for The Washington Post and author of Bloodmoney

"Rarely does one read a first novel so self-assured, sharp, and compelling. A Fatal Debt offers a terrific premise and wonderful characters. It takes off like a rocket and doesn’t stop until its explosive conclusion."
— Joseph Finder, New York Times bestselling author of Buried Secrets and Vanished

How To Be a Rogue Trader

An eSpecial

John Gapper

Nick Leeson at Barings, Jerome Kerviel at Societe Generale, John Rusnak at Allied Irish Banks. And now the 31 year-old Kweku Adoboli, who allegedly ran up $2.3bn in losses at UBS. These are the rogue traders who have bought banks to their knees and global financial systems to a halt. In this short ebook, The Financial Times columnist John Gapper unlocks the mystery by delving into the risk-taking instincts of both humans and animals — from yellow-eyed junco sparrows in Arizona to honey-bees. A rogue trader is often an outsider who starts in a lowly role and gambles with a bank's money in a bid to become a star. Gapper traces patterns of behavior and personality that could be used to catch them before disaster strikes. But do the banks really want to? And are they just the symptoms of a financial system gone rogue?

Portfolio (December 1, 2011)

Reviews

How to be a rogue traderMarketWatch
The Folie De Grandeur of Rogue TradersThe Huffington Post

All That Glitters

The Fall of Barings

John Gapper

This is an account of the fall of the House of Baring. Financial Times journalists John Gapper and Nicholas Denton have interviewed all the major players involved in the collapse of one of England's oldest banks. This book reveals the faustian deal struck between the whizz-kid traders who seemed to be bringing in huge profits and the grandies who were happy to pocket them without asking too many questions. For the first time, the actions and motives of all the participants are explained, including the final days when politicians and bankers made a last-ditch attempt to save the bank, as well as Nick Leeson's actions and motives.

Penguin Books (January 1997)

Topics

John tailors each presentation to the needs of his audience and is not limited to the topics we have listed below. These are subjects that have proven valuable to customers in the past and are meant only to suggest his range and interests. Please ask us about any subject that interests you; we are sure that we can accommodate you.

Financial crises

Wall Street

Videos

Rogue Traders

Feedback

A major US business school:
John would be a great speaker to engage in my view on anything of relevance to the world, especially from a financial or economic or socio-political standpoint. His comments are pithy but most relevant and insightful. I endorse him wholeheartedly.

A foreign policy research center:
Just writing on behalf of the fabulous John Gapper. He has moderated several of our [...] meetings for members and media, etc, including our McKinsey and McColough Series events where we are extremely picky in our choice of moderators. In the words of our meetings VP, John’s a “rock star.”

Articles

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