Deven Sharma to quit as Standard & Poor president

Mr Sharma, 55, will take on a special assignment working on S&P's strategic portfolio review "until the end of the year, when he will leave the company to pursue other opportunities," S&P's parent company McGraw Hill said in a statement

New York/Washington: Ratings agency Standard and Poor's (S&P) today announced that Deven Sharma, the company's Indian-origin president who was at the helm of affairs when S&P downgraded United States' credit rating, will leave the company by the end of the year, reports PTI.

Taking Mr Sharma's place will be Citibank chief operating officer Douglas Peterson, 53, who will become president of Standard & Poor's effective 12th September.

Mr Sharma, 55, will take on a special assignment working on S&P's strategic portfolio review "until the end of the year, when he will leave the company to pursue other opportunities," S&P's parent company McGraw Hill said here.

Mr Sharma joined Standard & Poor's in 2006 as executive vice-president, investment services and global sales, and was named president in 2007.

Before joining S&P, he was executive vice-president, global strategy, at The McGraw-Hill Companies for five years.

He had joined the McGraw-Hill Companies in 2002 from Booz Allen Hamilton, a global management consulting company, where he was a partner.

Announcing the change, McGraw-Hill Companies chairman, president and CEO Harold McGraw said he had turned to Mr Sharma four years ago during one of the "most difficult times facing S&P in the midst of the financial crisis".

Mr Sharma's background as head of S&P's investment services and head of McGraw-Hill's global strategy "brought the right kind of skills to address the situation", Mr McGraw said.

"I particularly want to thank Deven for his dedicated leadership of S&P. Today, S&P is a stronger company, whose 1,300 global analysts are sharply focused on the quality, independence and transparency of S&P's research and analytics," Mr McGraw added.

Mr Sharma said, "It has been a privilege to serve as the president of S&P and I am proud of what we as an organisation have achieved over the past four years. As McGraw-Hill continues its portfolio review, I will work closely with the leadership team to find ways to create even more shareholder value."

Standard & Poor's was split into two separate organisations last year-S&P, the credit ratings service, and McGraw-Hill Financial-to enable both organisations to serve investors and customers more effectively.

"Mr Sharma assisted us with the creation of these two high-growth segments and was then ready for new challenges.

Accordingly, we began a process to identify a new leader for S&P," the company said.

Mr Sharma was thrust into the international spotlight when S&P made its unprecedented decision to downgrade the US long-term sovereign credit rating from the top-notch 'AAA' level for the first time ever since a rating was assigned to the world's largest economy.

Mr Sharma led from the front and defended S&P's move when the US administration took up cudgels against the ratings agency, terming its analysis flawed and questioning its credibility and integrity.

Mr Sharma holds a bachelor's degree from the Birla Institute of Technology in Jharkhand, a master's degree from the University of Wisconsin and a doctoral degree in Business Management from Ohio State University.

He did his schooling in Dhanbad district of Jharkhand.


Government calls all-party meet to discuss Lokpal Bill

The government is of the view that some of the demands put forth by social activist Anna Hazare and his associates require a wider political consensus before a decision could be taken

New Delhi: Amid the standoff with Team Anna over the Lokpal Bill, government has convened an all-party meeting on Wednesday to find a way to solve the issue, reports PTI.

Leaders of all political parties have been invited to attend the meet scheduled for 3.30pm tomorrow.

Sources said the government is of the view that some of the demands put forth by social activist Anna Hazare and his associates require a wider political consensus before a decision could be taken.

In a related development, prime minister Manmohan Singh today held a detailed meeting with chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee, Abhishek Manu Singhvi, looking into the Lokpal Bill.

Sources said the meeting discussed various options to end the impasse over the issue as Mr Hazare's fast entered the eighth day today.

Mr Singhvi had yesterday said that difference between the government and Mr Hazare on the Lokpal Bill were more to do with methodology rather than content and said the Committee on Law & Justice and Personnel was open to all kinds of opinions and inputs to send a strong and acceptable to all Lokpal Bill back to Parliament.

Congress member Praveen Singh Aron has already submitted a copy of Mr Hazare's Jan Lokpal Bill for consideration of the Committee.


‘My fast at Azad Maidan, and what various people in the movement against corruption are saying’

Peter Theobald shares his experiences from the protest at Mumbai’s Azad Maidan, in support of a strong anti-corruption law

So, yesterday (Friday, 19 August) I decided that if a 74-year-old Gandhian had already fasted for four days, for all of us, what is my excuse, particularly given my past history in this matter? Also, I had been putting off my scheduled three-day fast for quite a while, this is as good a reason as any to re-start this practice that was any way good for my health. Only I was thinking, given the long break, would my body still respond the same way? Only one way to find out - Try!

So as usual, I told-or rather requested-my body, that I am going to begin a three-day fast tomorrow, so please adjust to being without food for three days. I had found in the past that this ensured that the three-day fast passed without a single hunger pang-something amazing, since normally I get severe hunger pangs even if I delay one meal. But this little request resulted that during the three days, I might feel tired, sleepy, a bit weak, headache, dry throat etc, in fact a lot of feelings-but anything but hunger!

And so it was, that in the morning, suitably armed with two bottles of water, a change of clothes and a thin sheet if I had to spend the night, I left for Azad Maidan. This time I did not lie to my son. After an initial protest, he accepted it, gave me a hug, and went back to play. Good, at least I got that right this time.

I reached the venue to find a small army of TV and police vans parked outside, and a contingent of about 50 policemen and women scattered around. I went to the stage, where about 50 people were quietly sitting, some reclining, assuming that they were fasting. I was politely told, with folded hands, "Yes, but you see, the stage is full, you are on day one of your fast; many of these people are fasting for five days and need to stretch out a bit, there is no room for more people now,  so please sit in the front row of the audience. You can join on the stage tomorrow."

So I sat there, watching with increasing amazement as a series of people, as motley a group as you can imagine, continuously took the stage one after the other... and echoed almost the same thing. It did not matter if it is was an illiterate farmer from Ralegan Siddhi, or an IT engineer from TCS, or a banker from Nomura Financial Services, or a housewife, if you removed their external identity, it was as if it was one person speaking. They looked the same, in simple clothes, an Anna cap, and a black armband. And they spoke the same language. And it was clear to see that they were speaking from their heart. Patriotic songs, couplets, slogans, and they were saying the most incredible things... I made a few notes...

A municipal teacher-transferred 12 times in 18 years for opposing corruption-now on her fifth day of fast. "By fasting I am not doing an upkar (favour) to anybody; it is for myself."

The 65-year-old event co-ordinator with indefatigable energy. "We want no violent words, no negativity. Nothing against any person. We are not fighting to change the government, but to change the system."
A five-year-old child, sang a patriotic song that brought tears to my eyes.

Indian Spiderman Gaurav Sharma, who climbed a 16-storey building in the rain in eight minutes, to hoist the Indian flag, to protest against corruption: "I did not take permission to do this, since I do not need permission to fight for my independence."

An MBA on his fifth day of the fast waxed eloquent. "Lathi/bullet khayenge, Jan Lokpal le ayenge" (We will brave batons and bullets, but get the Jan Lokpal Bill passed.)

An advocate: "Khoon ki Holi khelenge - lekein apni khoon ka. Ahimsak doosron ka khoon nahin bahate". (We will play Holi with blood if required-but our blood. Non-violent people do not shed other's blood.)

An event organiser called another person on stage, to share his slogan, saying "Taking credit for another person's idea is also corruption."

Many of these persons spoke so fluently, with so much passion, energy, without a trace of fatigue that it was difficult to believe they had not had a morsel to eat for five days. I was beginning to understand what Anna Hazare meant when he said, "I get my energy from all of you".

A retired police inspector. A housewife. "Fasting increases your atma-shakti. Strength of the soul."

A 11-year-old who was fasting for a day. Many youngsters from schools and colleges were given the mike and they spoke with a clarity and wisdom and understanding of the situation that belied their years.

It was getting more crowded now. Groups of people kept pouring in from everywhere. Cuffe Parade Residents Association-who says the rich don't care? Passengers on the Jan Lokpal Express. A group from this company, this bank, that IT company, who had left their laptops behind and were carrying a flag instead. A school child whose father was a Congress party leader. One youngster who ran 14 km from Wadala to Azad Maidan, waving the Indian Tricolour, all the way, and then came on stage to say his piece, that he was fasting for the day. An illiterate farmer from Anna Hazare's hometown, who in chaste Marathi, told us about Anna Hazare's background, cheerfully admitting that it was the first time he was holding a mike in his hand, and addressing any kind of audience.

Parivartan laney key like samay aur samaj chahiye. Ab hamare paas dono hain. Agar abhi nahin to kabhi nahin. (To usher in change, we need understanding and time. Now we have both. If not now, then never.)

"I got tired of reading the number of zeros in the amount of money swindled, but these guys did not get tired eating up this amount of money."

A blind man was helped to his seat.

A sixth standard girl: "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star, Anna Hazare is the Super Star."

And finally the one casualty of the day. Dipesh, an 18-year-old student, on the fifth day of his fast, who collapsed on stage while addressing the audience. "Sorry I don't have the energy to share my poem, but ..." A collective gasp rose from the participants. Dipesh was promptly attended to by volunteer doctors who have been available 24x7 to care for the fasters. Another person took the mike and said calmly, "He is being taken care of, do not worry." And the next person came on stage, exhorting the audience with the cry: "Vande Mataram. Don't worry, I too am fasting. Nothing will happen to me."

Another speaker said: "See how much these people are going through. How much more does the government want to torment them?" Torment indeed. The police have not given permission for the fasters to sleep on the site. So every day, they have to go to a dormitory a few km away, kindly provided by a Jain Association, rest there and come back the next day. Think about doing that on the fifth day of a fast.

The rest of the day went off in a blur. Speaker after speaker, slogan after slogan. Fifty more in line to speak. The atmosphere was electric. I too felt no hunger. I stopped taking notes. It was clear that history is in the making. The genie is out of the bottle. And it can't be put back.




5 years ago

Brilliant, Sir, thanks.

(as Zizek points out) the Spanish indignados say almost the same things: '‘Some of us consider ourselves progressive, others conservative. Some of us are believers, some not. Some of us have clearly defined ideologies, others are apolitical, but we are all concerned and angry about the political, economic and social outlook that we see around us: corruption among politicians, businessmen, bankers, leaving us helpless, without a voice.’ They make their protest on behalf of the ‘inalienable truths that we should abide by in our society: the right to housing, employment, culture, health, education, political participation, free personal development and consumer rights for a healthy and happy life.’ Rejecting violence, they call for an ‘ethical revolution. Instead of placing money above human beings, we shall put it back to our service. We are people, not products. I am not a product of what I buy, why I buy and who I buy from.’"

Indira Chougule

5 years ago

Our today's Gandhi Anna, V all r with U.
Jai Hind!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Narendra Doshi

5 years ago

A bird's eye view narration for the churn in the hearts & minds of those not preview to the happening seat, to be able to see what Independence movement had been. This movement may indeed turn out to be another type of independence, soon.
Well said Peter sir.

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