S&P chief to step down

Standard & Poor's headquarters in the financial district of New York on August 6, 2011.

Stacey Vanek Smith: The head of Standard and Poor's is stepping down. Deven Sharma will leave the ratings agency next month. Questions have been heating up about S&P's downgrade of U.S. debt, though the agency says that's not why he's leaving.

Nancy Marshall-Genzer has more from Washington.


Nancy Marshall-Genzer: Standard and Poor's issued a statement saying Sharma was leaving to "pursue other opportunities." The company did not mention the downgrade as a reason for his departure.

James Angel teaches finance at Georgetown University. He says it's hard to tell why Sharma is leaving now.

James Angel: Was it a response to the political repercussions of the downgrade. Was it a response to other things going on? Or maybe he really does want to spend more time with his family.

Standard and Poor's says Sharma's departure is part of a major change in its operations. S&P is separating its controversial ratings division from the rest of its business. It's doing that under pressure from shareholders in its parent company, McGraw Hill. S&P says the restructuring resulted in fewer responsibilities for Sharma. He'll be replaced by Douglas Peterson, the chief operating officer of Citibank.

In Washington, I'm Nancy Marshall Genzer for Marketplace.

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