Atul Joshi, managing director and CEO of India Ratings, a 100% owned subsidiary of the Fitch Group, has resigned, sources familiar with the development confirmed to FE on Tuesday.
A senior India Ratings official said a formal announcement would be made soon, adding Friday could be Joshi’s last working day with the company.
Joshi’s exit might not be the only high profile exit from India Ratings this week. Kishore Gandhi, managing director and head of business development, too is understood to have put in his papers and is believed to be serving out the notice period. Gandhi was hired as the chief credit officer in 2013 and was moved to a business development role last year, a move that allegedly did not go down too well with a section of analytical team.
Joshi’s abrupt exit from the agency came as a surprise to most employees when it was announced in an internal mail sent by Brett Hemsley, Asia- pacific head of Fitch Ratings. Although no formal reason was given for the sudden departure, Satish Nair, head of corporate affairs told FE, “Atul has stepped down due to personal reasons”. “Rajesh Patel, currently COO will take over as acting CEO till the time a replacement for Atul is found,” Nair added.
When contacted Atul Joshi refused to comment on the reasons for his exit. Joshi was appointed MD and CEO in July 2011.
In November last year, Deep Mukherjee, head of Corporate Credit Rating for Western India left India Ratings reportedly over differences with the senior management. However Mukherjee strongly denied this, stating he quit because he wanted to pursue personal interests.
Joshi’s sudden exit from India Ratings comes at a time when ratings agencies in India are grappling with serious credibility issues. Market regulator Sebi is believed to be comtemplating tighter disclosure norms for rating agencies and companies in the wake of growing controversies over ratings shopping. Alleged practices by some rating agencies who promise upgrades in lieu of a mandate are under the scanner. For instance, Amtek Auto was upgraded to investment grade by AA- by the CARE Ratings just around a month before the firm defaulted.
Satish Nair however denied that departure of Atul Joshi was anyway related to these developments. “We have a very robust and independent credit rating system and there is absolutely no shareholder pressure on us to meet unrealistic revenue targets.”