Equifax CEO Richard Smith is retiring effective immediately as the credit reporting agency tries to clean up the mess left by a damaging data breach that exposed highly sensitive information about 143 million Americans.
The shake-up announced Tuesday comes after Equifax disclosed that hackers exploited a software flaw that the company didn’t fix to heist Social Security numbers, birth dates, and other personal data that provide the keys to identify theft. Smith will also step down from the chairman post. He had been Equifax’s CEO since 2005.
Paulino do Rego Barros Jr. was named interim CEO, while board member Mark Feidler was appointed non-executive chairman. Barros most recently served as president of the Asia Pacific region. Equifax said that it will conduct a search for a permanent CEO, considering both internal and external candidates.
While the company said in a statement that Smith was retiring, Equifax said in a regulatory filing that it has not entered into any other arrangement or agreement with Smith in connection with his retirement. He will however, serve as an unpaid adviser to help with the transition process. The company said in the filing that Smith will not receive his annual bonus, and his other potential retirement-related benefits won’t be awarded until Equifax concludes an independent review of the data breach.