FacultyFaculty/Author Profile
Debra J. Perry

Debra J. Perry

Director, The Sanford C. Bernstein Fund
Director and Audit Committee Chair, Korn/Ferry International
Trustee, BofA Funds

Glen Ridge, NJ, USA

Debra Perry is a senior financial services professional with broad executive and board level experience in credit analysis, risk oversight and financial institution governance. Ms. Perry has served on the boards of three public companies and as a trustee and advisory board member in the public policy and higher education arenas. Over her business career, she was a senior executive at Moody's, the bond-rating agency, and held fixed income research and capital market positions in New York, Paris and London with First Boston and Chemical Bank.

While at Moody's, Ms. Perry managed several ratings divisions, served as Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) and had primary responsibility for executing the spin-off of Moody's from the Dun & Bradstreet Corporation and in building the public company infrastructure. In her line management roles, she managed an unusually wide range of rating groups covering financial institutions, industrial companies, and US municipal issuers. Following the defaults of Enron and WorldCom, she led the recalibration of $3 trillion of corporate debt ratings and introduced numerous enhancements to Moody's fundamental analysis, including a focus on the quality of issuers' corporate governance and public financial reporting. She also served as Chief Credit Officer and established the Credit Policy function to coordinate rating standards and default research.

In 2004, Ms. Perry retired from Moody's to enter the field of corporate directorship with a primary focus on the financial sector, restructuring and business services.  She served on the board of MBIA, the largest financial guaranty insurance company from 2004 until 2008. Following the early impact of the financial crisis on the company and its recapitalization, she was asked by the board to serve as a consultant to its Credit Risk Committee to refine and implement the company's risk strategy as part of its five-year transformation plan.

From 2004-2011, Ms. Perry served on the board of Conseco, Inc., now CNO Financial Group, a life and health insurer that had recently emerged from bankruptcy with a new management team and new board selected to rebuild the company. During her tenure, the board oversaw the restructuring and recapitalization of the company. She chaired the Human Resources & Compensation Committee of the board.

Ms. Perry currently serves on the board of Korn/Ferry International, a premier executive search and talent management solutions firm where she chairs the Audit Committee. In 2011, she joined the board of trustees of the BofA Funds Series Trust, a money fund complex where she chairs the Governance Committee, and the board of the Sanford C. Bernstein Fund, Inc.
In addition to her work as a board member, Ms. Perry serves on the Executive Committee of the Committee for Economic Development (CED), the non-partisan business-led public policy organization dedicated to research on major social and economic issues. She also serves on the Dean's Advisory Board of the Wisconsin School of Business at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She is a member of the Economic Club of New York, the National Association of Corporate Directors, the International Corporate Governance Network and Women Corporate Directors. Ms. Perry holds a BA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a graduate degree from Yale University.

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