Equifax dumps CEO in wake of damaging data breach

Equifax Inc.
This July 21, 2012, photo shows Equifax Inc., offices in Atlanta. Credit monitoring company Equifax says a breach exposed social security numbers and other data from about 143 million Americans. The Atlanta-based company said Thursday, Sept. 7, 2017, that "criminals" exploited a U.S. website application to access files between mid-May and July of this year. (AP Photo/Mike Stewart)

NEW YORK (AP) – Credit reporting agency Equifax is ousting CEO Richard Smith in an effort 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, birthdates and other personal data that provide the keys to identify theft.

Smith had been Equifax’s CEO since 2005. Paulino do Rego Barros Jr. was named interim CEO.

Although many analysts had applauded Equifax’s performance under Smith, he and the rest of his management team had come under fire for lax security and its response to the breach.

Smith’s departure follows the abrupt retirement of Equifax’s chief security officer and chief information officer.

(Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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