Deven Sharma to quit as S&P;’s chief

August 23rd, 2011 - 7:56 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, Aug 23 (IANS) Deven Sharma, the Indian origin president of Standard & Poor’s, the rating agency that shot into global prominence after the historic downgrade of the US debt rating, will leave the company by yearend.

Sharma, 55, will step down Sep 12, but will remain with the company through the end of the year to help oversee S&P;’s parent company McGraw-Hill’s review of its businesses, the company announced late Monday.

The decision by Sharma to resign comes as the ratings agency is under pressure from several fronts, including an inquiry by the Justice Department into its ratings of subprime mortgage securities and a push by activist investors to break up McGraw-Hill.

Sharma will be replaced by Douglas Peterson, 53, currently the chief operating officer of Citibank.

The ratings agency’s decision to downgrade the US long-term credit rating to AA+ from AAA Aug 5 set off a storm of controversy, including criticism by President Barack Obama and Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner.

But the New York Times citing people briefed on the matter said Sharma had been considering stepping down well before the latest attacks on the company.

He first began pondering his options after McGraw-Hill announced last November that Standard & Poor’s would be split into its two component businesses.

That corporate reorganization left Sharma with less responsibility, leading him to ask about his odds of eventually becoming the company’s chief executive, the Times said.

Sharma has been with the company for just under five years, and became president of Standard & Poor’s almost exactly four years ago.

(Arun Kumar can be contacted at arun.kumar@ians.in)

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