Ali Velshi

Ali Velshi (born October 29, 1969) is a Canadian television journalist, a senior economic and business correspondent for NBC News since October 2016 and co-anchor with Stephanie Ruhle of Velshi & Ruhle on MSNBC. Known for his work on CNN, he was CNN's Chief Business Correspondent, Anchor of CNN's Your Money and a co-host of CNN International's weekday business show World Business Today. In 2013, he joined Al Jazeera America, a channel that launched in August of that year.[1] He hosted Ali Velshi on Target until Al Jazeera America ceased operations on April 12, 2016. He has worked for MSNBC since October 2016.[2]

Ali Velshi
Ali Velshi
Velshi in 2005
BornOctober 29, 1969 (age 49)
Nairobi, Kenya
Alma materQueen's University
OccupationBroadcast journalist, author
Notable credit(s)
  • Anchor
  • Chief Business Correspondent
RelativesMurad Velshi (father)

Personal life

Born in Nairobi, Kenya and raised in Toronto, Ontario, he is the son of Murad Velshi, the first Canadian of Indian origin elected to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario and his wife Mila, who grew up in South Africa. He is an Ismaili Muslim of Gujarati Indian descent[3][4] and earned a degree in religious studies[5] from Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario in 1994.[6] During his time at Queen's he made news by organizing protests against Preston Manning and Canada's Reform Party. In 2010, Velshi was awarded the Queen's University Alumni Achievement Award.[7] In 2016, Velshi was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Laws by his Alma Mater. He previously attended Toronto's Northern Secondary School during which time he was elected school president.

Velshi was married briefly in his 20s. In 2009 he married his second wife, New York-born hedge-fund manager Lori Wachs,[8] the president of Philadelphia-based Cross Ledge Investments, whom he met when she was a guest on his show.[9]


In 1996, Velshi was awarded a fellowship to the United States Congress from the American Political Science Association. In this capacity he worked with Lee H. Hamilton, then a Democratic Representative from Indiana.[5]


In Toronto, Velshi began his professional reporting career as a General Assignment reporter for CFTO. He later became a business reporter and anchor for CablePulse 24 and its then sister station CityTV. In 1999, he joined Report on Business Television, (now BNN - Business News Network) Canada's first all-business news specialty channel. Velshi hosted The Business News, Canada's first prime time business news hour.


Velshi moved to the U.S. in September 2001, joining business news channel CNNfn in New York City. He anchored several shows including Insights, Business Unusual, Street Sweep, Your Money, and co-hosted The Money Gang with Pat Kiernan before the network closed down in December 2004.

Reassigned to the main CNN network, he remained a business anchor and reporter posted, initially, to CNN's early morning program, Daybreak. In 2005, Velshi hosted 13 hour-long episodes of The Turnaround, a reality television show, during which he traveled across America, introducing small business owners who were facing challenges or seeking to grow their businesses, to high-profile mentors who helped the small business owners develop a plan for success.[10]

After The Turnaround, Velshi was assigned to the newly launched The Situation Room from 2005 to 2006. Velshi joined American Morning as business correspondent in late 2006 and then again as co-anchor in 2011.

In 2008, Velshi undertook a cross-country road-trip aboard the CNN Election Express, during which he travelled from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina to Los Angeles, California, stopping along the way to discuss money issues with Americans. Velshi also spent 10 days riding the CNN Election Express through rural Texas before that state's March 4, 2008 primaries.

Velshi regularly was a substitute anchor for CNN/U.S. programs such as American Morning. On Saturday and Sunday he co-hosted a business program called Your Money. Velshi also hosted CNN's Energy Hunt which took him to the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, and to the Oil Sands of Canada in 2008.

Tragic events during 2008 brought Velshi more airtime, including reporting from the now-destroyed Marriott Hotel in Islamabad, Pakistan,[11] after the killing of Benazir Bhutto.[12] During coverage of Hurricanes Gustav[13] and Ike, Velshi appeared on air day and night on location from hurricane-stricken areas, as the storms hit. Velshi's hurricane reporting started in 2005 during Katrina, where he reported live during the evacuation of an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico, and then from damaged oil facilities in Eastern Texas and Southern Louisiana

During the financial crisis of 2008, Velshi again appeared on television frequently throughout the day on shows like American Morning and Anderson Cooper 360°, and took viewers' live calls during special editions of Your Money, and during his weekly call-in radio show.

Being Muslim, Velshi regularly acknowledges his background and perspective when discussions involve Islam. Velshi has strongly defended the Muslim community's right to build a mosque and Islamic center (Park51) near Ground Zero in New York City.[14] Velshi has also been critical of Peter King's hearings on Islamic radicalization in the United States as a form of Islamophobia and branding King as "naive". Velshi supports the separation of mosque and state and rejects "Political Islam" which requires the implementation of Sharia law.[15][16] He has been in turn accused of downplaying the role that mainstream Islamic jurisprudence, scholarship, and interpretation play in the development and application of Islamic extremism and branding negative statements about Islam as biased.[17][18][19]

Up until leaving CNN, Velshi co-hosted the market opening edition of World Business Today on CNN International.

Al Jazeera America

On April 4, 2013, it was announced that Velshi would be leaving CNN to join Al Jazeera America to host a weekly 30 minute magazine-style prime-time program called Real Money with Ali Velshi.[20] He was the first on-air personality to be hired for the new channel.[21] The channel stated that it hoped that Velshi's show would initially start off as a weekly show and become a daily show by the end of the year.[22] Real Money with Ali Velshi launched on August 20, 2013 as a daily weekday show. On May 12, 2015 the show re-launched as Ali Velshi on Target. This show ended in April 2016 when Al Jazeera America shut down.


In October 2016 Velshi joined MSNBC,[23] with additional duties at MSNBC's parent news division, NBC News, for which he serves as Business Correspondent.

Velshi co-anchors the 1:00 PM MSNBC news program Velshi & Ruhle with Stephanie Ruhle, as well as having his own 3:00 PM news program MSNBC Live with Ali Velshi.


Velshi is represented by the New York literary agency N.S. Bienstock, and by speaking agency Greater Talent Network. His first book, Gimme My Money Back: Your Guide to Beating the Financial Crisis, was published on January 2, 2009. His second book, How to Speak Money: The Language & Knowledge You Need Now, co-authored by long-time friend and co-anchor Christine Romans, was released by John Wiley & Sons in November 2011. Velshi has written monthly columns for both Money and Delta Sky magazine.

Awards and recognitions

In 2010, Velshi was awarded the Queen's University Alumni Achievement Award; the highest award given to Queen's University Alumni. Also in 2010, Velshi's in-depth reporting for CNN's "How the Wheels Came Off" about the near collapse of the U.S. Auto Industry was honored with a National Headliner Award for Business & Consumer Reporting. Velshi anchored CNN's global breaking news coverage of an attempted terror attack on a Delta flight into Detroit on Christmas Day 2009, for which CNN was nominated for a 2010 Emmy award. Velshi was nominated for two additional News & Documentary Emmy awards in 2015 for his contributions at Al Jazeera including coverage of low wages paid to disabled American workers, and a scandal involving red light cameras in Chicago. In 2017, Velshi was named an honorary "Canada 150" Ambassador to help promote activities and events marking the 150th anniversary of Canada's Confederation. Velshi was named a Poynter Fellow in Journalism at Yale University and accordingly participated in a conversation with students, faculty and members of the community at Yale University's Jonathan Edwards College in 2017. Also in 2017, Velshi delivered a TEDx talk entitled "How Fake News Grows in a Post Fact World."

Pop culture

Referencing Velshi's signature bald pate, the comedian Jon Stewart has referred to Velshi as the "Hairless Prophet of Doom" on The Daily Show,[24]—the "H-POD" moniker is now frequently repeated by others.

Stephen Colbert referred to Velshi as "CNN's business reporter from our hairless, raceless future", on an episode of The Colbert Report wherein he discussed the recent financial crisis.

In addition to appearing on The Daily Show, Velshi appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show on October 3, 2008, during the global financial crisis, and on The View on February 4, 2009 after the launch of his first book on the crisis.

Velshi played himself in the 2010 Oliver Stone film Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps.

During the recurring intro segment of Homeland (season 7)[25] at the 30 second mark, there is an audio clip of Velshi saying, "... the mood of the country. It's not great ...". This audio clip was taken from the August 30, 2017 edition of The 11th Hour (news program) when Velshi was a guest host. His full transcript was, "A new Fox News poll gives us an even closer look at the mood of the country. It's not great."[26]

Memberships and non-profit work

Velshi is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the Economic Club of New York,[27] the New York Financial Writers Association, The Paley Center for Media, a member of the Board of Trustees of the Chicago History Museum, a member of the Board of Trustees of Seeds of Peace, and a member of the Grand Challenges Advisory Committee of the National Academy of Engineering. He is also on the Board of Trustees of the X Prize Foundation which is a non-profit organization that designs and manages public competitions intended to encourage technological development that could benefit humanity.[28]


  1. ^ Weinger, M. (April 4, 2013). "Ali Velshi Joins Al Jazeera America". Politico. Retrieved 2013-04-06.
  2. ^ Steinberg, Brian (October 18, 2016). "MSNBC Hires Ali Velshi". Variety. Retrieved 2016-11-05.
  3. ^ Leslie Scrivener. "From Toronto to CNN, he's all business". the Retrieved 30 November 2015. The Velshis belong to the Ismaili branch of Islam, led by the Aga Khan. Their forebears are from Gujarat state in India, though Murad and Mila, Ali's mother, grew up in South Africa. Ali's great-grandfather was a friend of Gandhi, who arrived in South Africa in 1893; his grandfather was a student in a Gandhi-organized school, and an uncle took part in passive-resistance anti-apartheid actions.
  4. ^ "American India Foundation expands reach". The Times of India. Retrieved 29 November 2015. In the keynote address Al Jazeera America host Ali Velshi, whose great-grandparents moved to Africa from Gujarat a century ago, recalled the struggles his forefathers had to endure in their adopted land.
  5. ^ a b "CNN Programs - Anchors/Reporters - Ali Velshi". Archived from the original on February 11, 2009. Retrieved 2009-02-06.
  6. ^ "Ali Velshi." Marquis Who's Who TM. Marquis Who's Who, 2008. Reproduced in Biography Resource Center. Farmington Hills, Mich.: Gale, 2008. Retrieved 2008-11-23. Document Number: K2017691604.
  7. ^ "Alumni Association celebrates outstanding achievements | Queen's University News Centre". Archived from the original on October 6, 2013. Retrieved October 5, 2013.
  8. ^ "Speakers - Wharton Graduate Retail Club". Wharton Graduate Retail Club. Retrieved 2011-05-08.
  9. ^ Scrivener, Leslie (May 10, 2009). "From Toronto to CNN, he's all business". The Star. Toronto. Retrieved 2010-04-23.
  10. ^ "CNN/Money: The Turnaround". Archived from the original on February 4, 2009. Retrieved February 6, 2009.
  11. ^ "Deadly blast targets Marriott Hotel in Islamabad -". September 21, 2008. Archived from the original on 2009-02-05. Retrieved 2009-02-06.
  12. ^ "New video appears to show Bhutto being shot". December 31, 2007. Archived from the original on 2009-02-05. Retrieved 2009-02-06.
  13. ^ "Video - Breaking News Videos from". November 16, 2006. Archived from the original on February 5, 2009. Retrieved 2009-02-06.
  14. ^ CNN - XYZ with Ali Velshi: "Religious Freedom A Right" August 10, 2010.
  15. ^ CNN Transcripts: "Many Muslims Object To House Hearing about Radicalization" March 11, 2011
  16. ^ CNN Transcripts: "Muslim Radicalization Hearing Ends" March 10, 2011
  17. ^ CNN Transcripts - American Morning: Interview with Bill Bennett March 30, 2011
  18. ^ CNN Transcripts - "Terror Attempt on U.S. Airliner" Aired December 25, 2009
  19. ^ CNN Transcripts "Last U.S. Combat Brigade Leaves Iraq; Sliver of Hope for Pakistan" August 10, 2010
  20. ^
  21. ^ Hayden, E. (April 4, 2013). "Ali Velshi Joins Al Jazeera America". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2013-04-04.
  22. ^ Patten, D. (April 4, 2013). "CNN's Ali Velshi Leaving For Al Jazeera America". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 2013-04-04.
  23. ^ Sutton, Kelsey (18 October 2016). "Ali Velshi joins MSNBC". Politico. Retrieved 18 October 2016.
  24. ^ "The Economy - Not Unbad? | The Daily Show | Comedy Central". The Daily Show. Retrieved 2009-02-06.
  25. ^ "Homeland Season 7 Intro". YouTube.
  26. ^ "The 11th Hour With Brian Williams archive". MSNBC. Retrieved August 30, 2017.
  27. ^ "Economic Club of New York - Public Policy - Economics - Social Issues". Archived from the original on 2009-02-17. Retrieved 2009-02-06.
  28. ^ "Board of Trustees". XPRIZE. November 8, 2011. Retrieved 2013-10-05.

External links

Ali Velshi on Target

Ali Velshi on Target (formerly Real Money with Ali Velshi) was a daily thirty-minute program on Al Jazeera America hosted by Ali Velshi that focuses on current affairs which provides context and analysis around current political and economic issues along with interviews.

The show was shot and produced in New York City and originally shared studio space with Consider This, another Al Jazeera America show. Real Money aired at 10:30pm eastern time Monday through Friday with repeats overnight and on weekends.

The show featured guest appearances by Suze Orman among others. In Velshi's absence the show's substitute host is David Shuster. The show's producer is head of business news John Meehan.

The show also was done from occasion on location with Velshi typically at economic conventions and other places. The show was also in the past hosted from Al Jazeera America's studios at the Newseum in Washington D.C.


Velshi is a surname. Notable people with the surname include:

Ali Velshi (born 1969), Canadian journalist and host of CNN's Your Money; son of Murad Velshi

Murad Velshi (born 1935), businessman in Africa and a member of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario; father of Ali Velshi

Alykhan Velshi (born 1984), Canadian lawyer, policy analyst and ministerial assistant

MSNBC personalities
Political analysts
Legal analysts
Military analysts
National Security analysts
Al Jazeera America anchors and reporters
Past anchors
Past correspondents
Past contributors
Past meteorologists
News anchors and hosts
Special episode
anchors and hosts
Past anchors
Past correspondents
Past contributors
Former co-hosts of American Morning

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