The Equifax Board of Directors halted trading in the company stock this afternoon to announce that their CEO, Richard Smith, would be stepping down with immediate effect.
The company statement said: “The Board remains deeply concerned about and totally focused on the cyber-security incident. 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. We have formed a Special Committee of the Board to focus on the issues arising from the incident and to ensure that all appropriate actions are taken.”
Smith is a third person from Equifax to leave the company. Last week it was announced that the CIO, Mr David Webb, as well it the Chief Security Officer, Ms Susan Maulding, would also be ‘retiring’.
Equifax is struggling to cope with the fallout of a massive data breach. it had to admit earlier this month that hackers had obtained the personal details (including names and social security numbers) of up to 143 million consumers during the spring months of 2017. The company stated that it had already learned of a first hack in July, during which credit card numbers for some 200,000 people were accessed. Whilst researching this, it came to light that a lot more personal details had been stolen.
The Equifax disclosure was immediately met with press and public criticism due to both the delay in reporting this to the public and the problems their website had to allow people to verify whether their details had been accessed.
Furthermore, the US Justice Department has now launched an investigation after it became clear that in the months between learning of the hack (July) and the disclosure to the public (September), Equifax management sold stock options en masse.
Equifax stock is down by 26% since the news of the hack broke was admitted.