NEW YORK -- The president of Standard & Poor's is stepping down, a decision coming only weeks after the rating agency's unprecedented move to strip the United States of its AAA credit rating, according to reports published Monday.
The Financial Times and The Wall Street Journal reported that Deven Sharma will stay on as an adviser to S&P's parent company, McGraw-Hill Cos., until the end of the year. They said S&P plans to make an official announcement Tuesday before the U.S. financial markets open.
The newspapers cite people familiar with the matter who say Sharma's move was in the works well before S&P downgraded its rating on the U.S. to AA-plus on Aug. 5.
The Financial Times also said Sharma's decision to leave S&P was not due to recent reports that the Justice Department was investigating whether the agency improperly rated dozens of mortgage securities in the years leading up to the financial crisis in 2008. It said the move is the result of S&P splitting its data, pricing and analytics business from its ratings business.
Messages were left with S&P spokesmen seeking comment.
S&P's downgrade sent shock waves through global financial markets and was sharply criticized by the Obama administration, which said the agency's analysis was fundamentally flawed. Other major rating agencies have not followed S&P's lead.
Sharma joined S&P in 2006 and was named president the following year. Before that, he was executive vice president, Global Strategy, at McGraw-Hill for five years.