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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.

The successful spinoff is one of the accomplishments Ostrowski is proudest of. She also counts it among her greatest learning experiences, because it showed her the structure and strengths of each business and allowed her to communicate that to the investment community. That experience in taking a lead role in communicating with the rating agencies and investors led to Ostrowski’s taking on an additional role in investor relations this year.

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