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‘Changing of the Guard’ at Standard & Poor’s (S&P)

The McGraw-Hill Companies announced that Douglas Peterson (53), currently chief operating officer of Citibank N.A., Citigroup’s principal banking entity that operates in more than 100 countries, will become president of Standard & Poor’s effective September 12, 2011.  

Deven Sharma (55), who is currently in that role, will take on a special assignment working on the Company’s strategic portfolio review until the end of the year when he will leave the Company to pursue other opportunities.

According to comments in the Financial Times (FT) “officials hope that Mr. Peterson’s appointment will help repair relations with Washington. Mr. Peterson is known in the financial community as a seasoned banker with solid operating experience”.  It was also said that Mr. Sharma’s departure was not triggered by the downgrading of the US credit rating, rather by the split of its data, pricing and analytics business from its ratings business, which reduced Mr. Sharma’s responsibilities significantly.

The FT further commented that under Mr. Sharma’s leadership, S&P, along with other major credit rating agencies, has come under attack for its analysis of structured products such as collateralized debt obligations linked to subprime mortgages. This comment is unfair because Mr. Sharma assumed his leadership role at S&P after the subprime crisis broke and worked relentlessly to restore the credibility of S&P. 

Source: McGraw-Hill Companies Press Release and Financial Times

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