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McGraw Hill Said to Seek Up to 100 S&P Staff Buyouts

July 21 (Bloomberg) -- Standard & Poor’s is seeking voluntary buyouts from as many as 100 U.S. employees in what would be the biggest staff cuts since the financial crisis for the credit grader, according to a person with knowledge of the matter.

The reductions, part of a productivity plan being implemented by S&P President Neeraj Sahai less than seven months into the role, seek to reduce layers of management, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the matter is private.

The buyouts, accounting for about 6 percent of the ratings division’s staff, are the most wide-reaching changes yet under Doug Peterson, a former Citigroup Inc. executive who was named chief executive officer of S&P parent McGraw Hill Financial Inc. last year. He joined the firm in 2011 amid scrutiny of the credit grader’s role in the 2008 credit crisis.

Sahai, who also joined from Citigroup in January to take over S&P’s top job, is seeking to streamline operations at the unit, the person said. The New York-based company is offering the buyouts to employees with business titles of director and above across the ratings division, which includes operations staff.

“As part of our goal to become a more nimble organization responsive to the needs of our customers, we are reviewing our staffing requirements,” according to an internal memo from Sheila O’Neill, S&P’s vice president of human resources, that was obtained by Bloomberg News. “We believe that we can operate more effectively with a streamlined workforce.”

Ed Sweeney, a spokesman for S&P, confirmed the memo’s contents.

McGraw Hill shares fell 0.94 percent to $81.76 at 11:40 a.m. in New York.

To contact the reporter on this story: Matt Robinson in New York at mrobinson55@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Shannon D. Harrington at sharrington6@bloomberg.net Caroline Salas Gage, John Parry

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