Stephen Nessen, Reporter, WNYC News
Stephen Nessen reports for the WNYC Newsroom and can often be heard live on Morning Edition.
John B. Chambers, one of three credit analysts at Standard & Poor's who downgraded the U.S. credit rating from AAA to AA+ on Friday, lives in New York City, received an MA in English literature at Columbia University and got his financial start with the second largest bank in Djibouti.
As chairman of the sovereign ratings committee, Chambers' group rates 123 governments and various international banks. He has been the committee's chairman and managing director since 2008.
Chambers does not have an MBA, but does have a CFA. He graduated from Grinnell College in 1977 with a BA in English literature and philosophy, according to his Bloomberg LINK biography. He got his masters of arts in English literature from Columbia University.
He served as Banque Indosuez bank's sous directeur and assistant comptroller in France from 1986 to 1993 before joining the sovereign ratings group, according to the profile.
The controversial decision to downgrade U.S. credit drew the ire of many — including President Barack Obama, who ripped into the agency on Monday during a nationwide address from the White House.
Obama, fiercely defending U.S. credit, said markets will rise and fall "no matter what some agency may say."
"We've always been and always will be a AAA country," he said.
The president said the S&P's decision was made because of political bickering rather than the country's ability to pay it's debt: "In fact, Warren Buffett, who knows a thing or two about good investments, said, 'If there were a quadruple-A rating, I'd give the United States that.' I, and most of the world’s investors, agree."