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Equifax CEO is Stepping Down Following Major Security Breaches
Richard Smith, the chairman and chief executive of Equifax, is retiring about three weeks after the credit-reporting company announced a massive security breach that compromised the sensitive information of about 143 million consumers.
Equifax said in a statement that Smith’s retirement is effective immediately. Paulino do Rego Barros, Jr., who was most recently president of the company’s Asia-Pacific business, will serve as interim CEO.
A search will begin immediately for a permanent CEO, with the company indicating that it will consider candidates from both inside and outside the firm. Smith will serve as an unpaid adviser to assist in the transition.
“Serving as CEO of Equifax has been an honor, and I’m indebted to the 10,000 Equifax employees who have dedicated their lives to making this a better company,” Smith said in a statement. “The cybersecurity incident has affected millions of consumers, and I have been completely dedicated to making this right. At this critical juncture, I believe it is in the best interests of the company to have new leadership to move the company forward.”
Equifax has come under criticism for how it has handled the security breach since it acknowledged the hacking on Sept. 7. Bloomberg later reported that the company had actually suffered a separate major breach in March.
The company is currently being probed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and regulators, while also facing several legal actions. The Wall Street Journal reports that Equifax has lost about $4.5 billion – or a quarter – of its market value since the hacking was revealed.