Dr John Sfakianakis

Associate Fellow, Middle East and North Africa Programme


John Sfakianakis is an Associate Fellow with Chatham House’s Middle East and North Africa Programme. He is the Chief Economist and Head of Economic Research of the Gulf Research Center in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Dr Sfakianakis is also a Fellow at the Judge Business School and Senior Scholar at Pembroke College, University of Cambridge. He’s a board member of the University of California, Berkeley, Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation.

Previously, Dr Sfakianakis was Middle East Director of the Ashmore Group (FTSE 100 firm) in Riyadh. His other former positions have included chief investment strategist at MASIC, a Saudi family-owned investment company; chief economic adviser to the Saudi Ministry of Finance; group general manager and chief economist, Middle East North Africa region for Credit Agricole C.I.B.; chief economist, Saudi British Bank (SABB/HSBC); and chief regional economist, Samba Financial Group. He also has served as adviser at the Ministry of Economy and Planning in Saudi Arabia and as economist at the United Nations (UNDP) and the World Bank.

Dr Sfakianakis appears regularly on television, particularly the BBC, Bloomberg, and CNN. He’s editing a volume on Saudi Arabia’s economy in the 21st century which will be published by Oxford University Press later this year. He is educated at the London School of Economics, Harvard and the University of London.


Past experience

2015 - present Chief economist and head of research, Gulf Research Center
2014-15 Regional director, Ashmore Group
2013-14 Chief investment strategist, MASIC
2011-13 Chief economic advisor, Saudi Ministry of Finance
2009-11 Chief economist, Middle East, Credit Agricole CIB
2009-11 Chief economist and group general manager, Banque Saudi Fransi
2006-09 Group chief economist, The Saudi British Bank/HSBC
2005-06 Chief regional economist, Samba Financial Group