Meet the Man Who Downgraded the US Credit Rating

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Standard and Poor's headquarters in Manhattan. (Wikipedia Commons)

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."


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Comments [4]


How does a guy with a degree in English - not finance, economics, mathematics, business - ENGLISH decide on the rating of a country's financial standing?

Aug. 09 2011 05:24 PM

The Markets going up today. Surprised? Makes it look like the whole mess orchestrated to make people panic, sell and now the savvy are buying at "sale" prices. Once again, the rich get richer.....

Aug. 09 2011 12:53 PM
henry from NYC

@ Anne N from UK I'm not sure if it's about pride or not, but what I am sure about is that the S&P should be downgraded. First, they screwed up on the whole mortgage backed securities rating (, and now they make a 2 trillion dollar error in rating the US.

Forget about pride, we should be furious that this company caved into pressure from big business to give false ratings to mortgage backed securities.

Aug. 09 2011 12:25 PM
Anne N from UK

Oh dear! USA's pride is hurt! It happens but we must try harder.

Think of the school kid to whom it happens.

What does Mummy tell him/her that she must do to going back to a higher score?

Aug. 09 2011 11:11 AM

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