Equifax CEO steps down following massive hack

Equifax (NYSE:EFX) CEO Richard Smith abruptly retired Tuesday following a massive data breach that potentially impacts 143 million Americans.

The credit-reporting agency said Paulino do Rego Barros, Jr., president of Equifax’s Asia Pacific business, will serve as interim CEO. Mark Feidler was named non-executive chairman. The company’s board will consider candidates from inside and outside Equifax as it begins a search for a permanent CEO.

“The Board remains deeply concerned about and totally focused on the cybersecurity incident.  We are working intensely to support consumers and make the necessary changes to minimize the risk that something like this happens again. Speaking for everyone on the Board, I sincerely apologize,” Feidler said. “We have formed a Special Committee of the Board to focus on the issues arising from the incident and to ensure that all appropriate actions are taken.”

Smith had served as chairman and CEO since 2005. He is scheduled to testify in front of the Senate Banking Committee on Oct. 4.

Equifax disclosed earlier this month that hackers gained access to Social Security numbers, birthdays, addresses, driver’s license numbers and credit card numbers, potentially putting millions of people at risk for identity theft. Hackers exploited a known vulnerability in open-source software to breach Equifax’s systems, according to the company. Equifax discovered the data breach on July 29.

Equifax set up a website, equifaxsecurity2017.com, where consumers can check if their personal information may have been compromised in the hack. Consumers can also sign up for credit monitoring, which will be free for a year.

The company previously announced the retirements of its chief information officer and chief security officer in the wake of the cyber-attack.

Federal investigators are reportedly looking into whether three Equifax executives violated insider trading laws when they sold nearly $1.8 million worth of shares in the days after the hack was discovered.

Equifax shares slipped 1.2% to $103.79 in recent trading. The stock has tumbled 27% since news of the data breach first surfaced.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
EFX EQUIFAX INC. 260.28 -3.67 -1.39%