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Deven Sharma: The Indian who gave US an 'AA+' on credit report

Dailybhaskar.com | Last Modified - Aug 09, 2011, 01:04 PM IST

S&P led by Jharkhand-born Deven Sharma struck off 'AAA' rating of the US to 'AA+'
  • Deven Sharma: The Indian who gave US an 'AA+' on credit report
    Deven Sharma: The Indian who gave US an 'AA+' on credit report

    devensharma_288New Delhi: Jharkhand-born Deven Sharma, an Indian American, was not popularly known in world media until a week ago. But currently, referring to him as the most important man in the West economy wouldn’t be a hyperbole, as this Jharkhand-born man has shaken the US economy by downgrading its credit rating from ‘AAA’ to ‘AA+’.

    On August 5, S&P, led by Deven Sharma, struck off the 'AAA' rating of the US to 'AA+', considered the Gold standard in the world of finance, for the first time since 1914.

    Deven Sharma is the president of Standard & Poor's which is a leading provider of financial market intelligence and one of the world’s three foremost credit rating, investment research and risk evaluation agencies.

    Deven when asked in an interview to Wall Street Journal about their reaction over the pushback received from US government officials, said, “There are seldom occasions when people say 'we recognise.' We are supposed to be objective, and others are always trying to convince us why the risk is less than we think it is. And our job is to tell the investor: this is where we think the risk is.” Read: India will respond appropriately to evolving situation, says RBI

    Anticipating about the impact of Friday’s downgrade on markets, Deven said: “Markets are a mystery for all of us. We are moving into uncharted territory. But we had telegraphed in July when we did the credit watch negative what impact a downgrade could have on different sectors.”

    Who is Deven Sharma?

    Born in 1955, Deven did his schooling from Jamshedpur and got his Bachelor’s degree from Birla Institute of Technology (in 1977). He later moved to US to get a Master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin and a Doctoral degree in Business Management from Ohio State University in 1987. Read: Top 20 cash-rich American companies sitting on 1.4 tn in cash

    Deven initially worked with Dresser Industries and Anderson Strathclyde before he joined Booz, Allen & Hamilton, in 1988. . He worked for Booz Allen for 14 years and led its strategy, operations performance, sales and marketing, and global expansion engagements for service-, marketing- and information-intensive companies.

    He moved to The McGraw-Hill Cos in 2002, the parent of S&P and it was here that he served as Executive Vice President of Global Strategy of McGraw-Hill Companies Inc., from January 15, 2002 to October 2006.

    Deven took over as Vice President at S&P in 2006 and became president in 2007. Ever since, this veteran has been active in the development of new opportunities that spun McGraw-Hill’s major markets of education and financial services. Read: Another slowdown looming large; is India ready to face it?

    Over the last four years as the head of one of the premiere rating agencies in the world, Sharma stood up to the global criticism. Sharma has also been the Director of CRISIL Ltd. from July 22, 2005 to July 2008.

    On Friday afternoon, the three rating agencies including Moody’s and Fitch had to take a call on downgrading of America’s Triple A rating. It was then that Deven Sharma and his team made the unprecedented move that triggered the chain of events, the tremors of which have been felt in India as well. The US was downgraded to ‘AA plus’ rating. Read: US Debt crisis averted, but fear of 2nd slowdown haunts world

    Although Deven earned criticism by many in the financial world for his controversial and unprecedented decision, but actions of him and his organization were enough to affect the world- the financial mayhem that followed after the symbolic act.

    What is S&P?

    US-based Standard & Poor’s (S&P) is a credit rating firm. A division of The McGraw-Hill Co, S&P is a financial-services company which is well known for its stock-market indices besides being one of the foremost three credit rating agencies.

    The company traces its history back to 1860 with the publication by Henry Varnum Poor of a book on US rail, roads and canals. In 1906, Luther Lee Blake founded the Standard Statistics Bureau, with the view to providing financial information on non-railroad companies. In 1941, Poor and Standard Statistics merged to become Standard & Poor's Corp. In 1966, the company was acquired by The McGraw-Hill Companies, and now encompasses the Financial Services division

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