Equifax CEO Richard Smith is out after massive data breach


Breaking news in the Equifax data breach: The Atlanta-based company’s CEO, Richard Smith, is retiring effective immediately after 12 years on the job.

This comes less than three weeks after Equifax revealed that a major hack exposed the personal information of 143 million consumers.

Equifax CEO retires after data breach

RELATED: 5 things to expect when you freeze your credit

“Serving as CEO of Equifax has been an honor, and I’m indebted to the 10,000 Equifax employees who have dedicated their lives to making this a better company,” Smith said in a news release. “The cybersecurity incident has affected millions of consumers, and I have been completely dedicated to making this right. At this critical juncture, I believe it is in the best interests of the company to have new leadership to move the company forward.”

Paulino do Rego Barros Jr., an executive from the Asia Pacific division, has been appointed as interim CEO while Equifax’s board searches for a new permanent leader.

Smith has agreed to serve as an unpaid adviser to Equifax to assist in the transition.

How to protect your identity: Take these 2 steps

Clark has said the data breach is the worst in the history of the modern era. To protect yourself, he recommends that you take these two steps right away:

1. Sign up for Credit Karma’s free credit monitoring

Go to CreditKarma.com to sign up for a free account and you’ll get access to free credit monitoring. If they notice any suspicious activity, you’ll get an alert. Plus, Credit Karma also gives you free access to your credit scores and reports, as well as tips on what factors are impacting your credit.

2. Freeze your credit with all three main credit bureaus

By freezing your credit files, you can prevent criminals from using your information to wreak havoc on your financial life. Even if your info was not exposed by the Equifax hack, this is the best way to protect your identity and your money.

Clark froze his credit for the first time more than a decade ago and has only had to temporarily lift the freeze a handful of times. Get started with his step-by-step Credit Freeze Guide.


RELATED: Equifax data breach: What we know and how to protect yourself from what’s coming next

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