Turner, who has worked for Moody's since 1987, is to join the corporate finance group in New York where she will co-manage the leveraged finance group with fellow MD Tom Marshella. Having initially been based in Tokyo for three years, Turner moved to Hong Kong in 1997 as managing director of corporate ratings and assumed responsibility for the wider region ex Japan and Australia after the departure of Edward Young in 1999.

She leaves behind a much-expanded franchise and says that one of proudest achievements is to have hired people able to meet the challenges of an expanding business. "We used to staff rating assessments outside the region, but now they're fully staffed from offices in the region," she comments.

In her place, Thomas Keller, the group managing director who has overseen the entire Asia Pacific region (including Japan and Australia) since last summer, will relocate to Hong Kong from Tokyo. Anticipating steady growth in the North Asian markets, Keller believes that Hong Kong is the best placed to be based and says that he also hopes to, "fill the gap left by Julia's departure and help continue her good work, building on the strong franchise she's developed in Hong Kong.

"Both from a personal and professional standpoint, my family and I are thrilled to be coming to Hong Kong," he adds. "We expect to be here for some time."

He is also comfortable leaving the Tokyo office as he says, "I'm leaving Japan with a first class management structure." Assuming Keller's responsibilities as representative director of Moody's Japan will be Naoki Yamauchi, who also remains managing director of the structured finance group.

Other moves announced in Tokyo are the promotion of Takahiro Morita to team managing director for corporate finance and Kei Kitayama as team managing director for commercial mortgage finance.

In Australia, Moody's has also promoted Brian Cahill to team MD for corporate finance in Asia and Australia, with all analysts in Hong Kong and Sydney reporting to him. Managing director Jennifer Elliot also adds to her current workload managing Australia's operations by heading issuer business development initiatives for the region as well.

With all these changes, Moody's will have an expanded management structure in Asia and believes the addition of three MDs reflects its belief in the growing business opportunities available in the region. The agency has, for example, recently opened an office in Taiwan and expects to see some expansion this year, as well as increasing ownership of its joint venture in China.