Fitch Group Inc., the credit ratings and financial data company majority-owned by Fimalac SA, appointed Paul Taylor as chief executive officer.
Taylor, 49, the president of Fitch’s ratings unit, will replace Stephen Joynt starting April 2, the company said today in a statement. Joynt, 60, who has been CEO for 10 years, will remain on Fitch’s board and become a senior adviser to the firm.
The Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission blamed Fitch, along with its competitors Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s Investors Service, for helping to fuel the mortgage bubble by assigning top grades to bonds that plummeted. S&P hired Douglas Peterson to replace Deven Sharma as president last year, while Raymond McDaniel has remained head of Moody’s Corp. since 2005.
The three credit-rating companies were “key enablers” of the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, the inquiry commission said in its report last year. Joynt defended Fitch before Congress in October 2008, telling a House panel that the company “did not foresee the magnitude or the velocity of the decline in the U.S. housing market.”
Joynt helped Fitch increase its “institutional acceptance, market presence and global reach,” Marc Ladreit de Lacharriere, Fimalac’s chief executive officer, said in the statement. Fitch had been developing a succession plan since Taylor took over as head of the ratings business in 2010, Dan Noonan, a spokesman for the firm in New York, said by e-mail.
Fimalac’s revenue from credit ratings decreased to $408.4 million in 2010 from $639.5 million in 2007 as banks created fewer mortgage-backed securities, cutting demand for ratings, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Fimalac, based in Paris, owns 60 percent of Fitch.
Taylor joined Fitch in 2000 after it acquired Duff & Phelps Credit Rating, where he was executive vice president, according to the statement.