Neeraj Sahai appointed president as S&P fights lawsuit over ratings fraud

McGraw Hill Financial, owners of ratings agency S&P, on Monday announced the appointment of Neeraj Sahai as the next president of the rating agency, from January.

Sahai is the second person of Indian origin to take over the reins of S&P after Deven Sharma who quit in 2011 after a controversial downgrade of the US from its `AAA' rating.

For four years, between August 2007 and September 2011, S&P was led by Deven Sharma.

Sahai, an alumnus of Delhi University, succeeds Douglas Peterson, a Citigroup colleague who had taken over from Sharma.

Peterson said that S&P stood ready to offer globally comparable measures of relative credit risk as debt markets expand to finance the demand for development and infrastructure projects.

"I am eager to get started, to work alongside S&P's deeply talented employees and to build on the progress Doug (Peterson) and the management team have achieved," said Neeraj Sahai, who will succeed Peterson.

Sahai, an Indian-American and a Citigroup executive, will take the reins of Standard & Poor's at a time when the ratings major is fighting a civil fraud lawsuit over inflating ratings to secure business related to the failed subprime mortgage bonds.

The lawsuit, filed in February by the US Justice Department, accuses the company of inflating ratings to secure the business related to the grading of subprime mortgage bonds before the financial crisis.

S&P says the lawsuit is "unjustified and without any legal merit".