Just over a week after Equifax’s chief security officer and chief information officer “retired,” the bungling credit company’s CEO has also made the same move.
The company announced that Richard Smith has left his role as CEO and chairman of the board effective immediately following a huge security breach which is thought to have impacted as many as 142 million consumers. Those impacted had Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses and driver’s license numbers compromised, while credit card information for hundreds of thousands more customers is said to have been put at risk.
Paulino do Rego Barros, most recently President of Asia Pacific for the company, has taken the CEO role in the interim period, but Equifax confirmed it is hiring for a full-time replacement.
Retirement isn’t typically the next step for an executive after one of the most severe security breaches in history, but it seems to be a euphemism for fired and a reflection that most of the senior executives involved in running the company are unlikely to be hirable in the future.
That’s because there’s a lot more to be concerned about beyond the huge data hack itself.
The initial handling was bad. In the aftermath of news of the breach, Equifax appeared to be telling people at random that they were impacted while its checking sign automatically signed consumers up for one of its services.
But then there’s mounting evidence that the company had sat on the news. Three senior executives sold nearly $1.8 million in shares after the company learned internally that it had exposed the private data, while Equifax had prepared a patch for the vulnerability that caused the outage months before it was revealed. Unsurprisingly, the U.S. Justice Department is investigating.
Featured Image: REUTERS/Brendan McDermid