Richard Smith, 57, had led the firm since 2005 and was widely admired on Wall Street. He had been under the spotlight since news broke of an Equifax data breach that exposed the personal information of as many as 143 million people.
The chairman and chief executive of Equifax, Richard F. Smith, retired on Tuesday in the aftermath of a major data breach that exposed the personal information of as many as 143 million people, says the New York Times. Two other top Equifax executives — the chief information officer and the chief security officer — stepped down on Sept. 14. Equifax, based in Atlanta, said this month that hackers had exploited an unpatched flaw in its website software to extract names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses and other information about millions of people. The company faced a blistering outcry from lawmakers and the public for failing to protect the sensitive data and for a response that many found lackluster.
Smith, 57, had been the chairman and chief executive of Equifax Inc. since 2005. He joined the company after a 22-year career at General Electric that included top executive positions in the conglomerate’s insurance, leasing and asset-management divisions. Before the data breach at Equifax, Smith was widely admired on Wall Street for developing new products and increasing sales. Equifax had revenue of $3.1 billion last year, up from $1.4 billion the year he took over. Federal authorities, led by the F.B.I., have opened a criminal investigation into the cyberattack on Equifax. More than 30 state attorneys general have begun investigations into the breach, and federal lawmakers from both parties have requested information from Equifax and called for hearings on what went wrong.