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Colleen Ostrowski, treasurer and vice president of investor relations at $2 billion ITT Corp., recently helped achieve what some in her organization, including Ostrowski herself at times, thought might be impossible—carving three investment-grade companies out of the legacy $11 billion diversified manufacturer within one year.

Over the course of 2011, ITT shunted its defense and water businesses into separate companies, Exelis and Xylem, and emerged a trimmer company with four never-before combined business lines that manufacture products for the energy, aerospace, and transportation industries, among others. At the end of the year, each of the three companies had an investment-grade rating as a result of Ostrowski’s careful oversight of structure and balance sheet.

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