Richard Smith has retired as CEO and chairman of Equifax in the wake of his company’s gross mishandling of one of the worst data breaches in history, which compromised the data of an estimated 143 million Americans. One of the first plans he has during his retirement is an appearance at Senate Banking Committee hearing on October 4.
That hearing relates to one of many state and federal investigations that have been launched into the Equifax breach and the company’s handling of the security disaster. The chief information officer and chief security officer left the company on September 14.
Smith has been with the company since 2005. In an SEC filing, Equifax says its board has begun hunting for a new CEO. Smith will help assist in the transition as an unpaid consultant. Palino du Rego Barro Jr., who was president of Equifax Asia Pacific, will serve as interim CEO and board member Mark Feidler will become the non-executive chairman. “The Board remains deeply concerned about and totally focused on the cybersecurity incident,” Feilder said in a press statement Equifax released to announced the changes. “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.”
Smith’s retirement comes three weeks after Equifax first announced the breach. Equifax claims it first learned about the breach months earlier in July. After it discovered the breach, three executives sold off their stock. The company has claimed the managers did not know about the breach at the time.
Since the breach was revealed to the public, the company seems to have missed every opportunity to help the people affected. Immediately after the announcement, the company gave consumers confusing information about how to find out if their data was compromised. Last week Gizmodo revealed that the company’s Twitter account had been directing consumers to a fake phishing site for two weeks.