S&P President Replaced

NEW YORK (AP) – McGraw-Hill Cos. said Thursday that Standard & Poor's President Kathleen Corbet has been replaced by an executive vice president at S&P, McGraw-Hill's financial services division.

The company said Corbet, 47, stepped down to pursue other opportunities. She had worked for S&P for three years.

The change comes as credit-rating agencies are facing increased criticism that they failed to accurately assess and warn investors about risks in mortgage investments that have led to recent problems in the credit markets. However, the company did not indicate that was a factor in Corbet's departure.

Corbet will be replaced by Deven Sharma, 51, who has served as executive vice president of investment services and global sales for Standard & Poor's since November. In his new position, Sharma will report to McGraw-Hill Chairman, President and Chief Executive Harold McGraw III.

Before joining McGraw-Hill in 2002, Sharma was a partner with management consulting company Booz Allen Hamilton Inc.

The credit-rating industry is dominated by Standard & Poor's, Moody's Investors Service and Fitch Ratings. In recent weeks, House and Senate lawmakers have said they plan to examine those agencies and their role in the mortgage market meltdown. It remains unclear, however, whether Congress will aim for a major overhaul of the industry or minor tweaks.

The credit-rating agencies, whose ratings are used by investors to gauge the likelihood of default of mortgage-backed bonds and other forms of debt, have defended their track record of analyzing the mortgage market in recent years and say they have adequate protections against conflicts.

Besides providing credit ratings, McGraw-Hill's Standard & Poor's division also provides investment research and data, and it compiles indexes including the widely known S&P 500.

Shares of McGraw-Hill are down more than 26 percent this year, partly due to declining revenue from ratings of U.S. residential mortgage-backed securities. McGraw-Hill gained 48 cents to $50.27 Thursday.