Equifax CEO retires amid data breach scandal
by Leigh Jones
Posted 9/26/17, 11:11 am
Equifax is cleaning house after the massive data breach that exposed nearly half the U.S. population to potential identity theft. CEO Richard Smith announced his retirement Tuesday, following the departure of the company’s chief security and chief information officers. “The cybersecurity incident has affected millions of consumers, and I have been completely dedicated to making this right,” Smith said in a statement. “At this critical juncture, I believe it is in the best interests of the company to have new leadership to move the company forward.” Smith will not get his annual bonus, and the company plans to withhold other retirement-related benefits until it completes an independent review of what happened. While Equifax initially painted itself as a victim, analysts revealed the company contributed to its own downfall by failing to install a patch to open-source software after experts in March revealed a security weakness. The hackers exploited that crack in the code to access Equifax’s systems between May 13 and July 30. The company’s stock tanked after the data breach revelation, wiping out about $5.5 billion in value, one-third of the company’s worth. At least three executives still with the company, including its chief financial officer, are accused of selling a combined $1.8 million in Equifax stock before news of the data breach went public.
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Leigh lives in Houston with her husband and daughter. She is WORLD Digital’s managing editor and reports on education for WORLD Magazine and WORLD Digital.