Equifax chief executive and chairman Richard Smith has retired in the wake of the data breach at the credit referencing firm that exposed the personal details of approximately 143 million US consumers.
After 12 years in the job, Smith has retired with immediate effect, saying that "at this critical juncture, I believe it is in the best interests of the company to have new leadership".
He becomes the third senior exec to leave since the breach was reported, following in the footsteps of the chief information officer and the chief security officer.
Equifax first admitted that its systems had been breached on 7 September, with hackers exploiting a US website application vulnerability to steal the personal details of approximately 143 million US consumers. Around 200,000 Visa and Mastercard cards were also compromised.
Since then, the company has faced a barrage of criticism, a host of federal and state inquiries, and the threat of a multiple law suits for the hack and for its response.
Smith, who received more than $15 million in compensation last year, will not get his annual bonus this time.
Paulino do Rego Barros, Jr, who most recently served as president, Asia Pacific, and is a seven-year veteran of the company, has been appointed as interim CEO while a permanent replacement is sought.
Says new non-exec chairman Mark Feidler: "The Board remains deeply concerned about and totally focused on the cybersecurity incident. We are working intensely to support consumers and make the necessary changes to minimize the risk that something like this happens again."