Shares of Equifax (EFX) are in focus after the company appointed former GE (GE) executive Mark Begor as its new chief executive officer. The appointment comes as Equifax faces increased regulatory scrutiny after it revealed that additional customer information was compromised in the data breach beyond what was previously disclosed.
NEW CEO: Equifax appointed Begor, who spent 35 years at GE, as its new CEO, effective April 16. Begor, who is currently a managing director at Warburg Pincus, will also become a member of the board. He will replace interim CEO Paulino do Rego Barros, who took the helm in September after the massive cyberattack was disclosed. Do Rego Barros will retire in early 2019 and will assist Begor in his transition over the coming months. “I am excited to take the helm of Equifax at such a pivotal moment in the company’s history,” Begor said. “I will prioritize continuing our team’s efforts to communicate transparently and restore confidence with consumers, customers, shareholders, and policymakers. And most critically, we will continue to invest in and strengthen our IT and data security. As a custodian of consumer and customer information, protecting that data is a central priority for Equifax and for me personally.”
WHAT’S NOTABLE: Begor joins Equifax at a time when the company faces increased scrutiny by regulatory authorities over the company’s data breach. In February, Equifax named Jamil Farshchi as chief information security officer and also disclosed that an additional 2.4M U.S. consumers had their names and partial driver’s licenses information stolen as part of the breach, bringing the total to 147.9M. Equifax originally said the security breach impacted about 143M consumers, later revising that estimate to say that an additional 2.5M U.S. consumers were impacted by the attack, noting that the information accessed included names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses and, in some instances, driver’s license numbers. Following the original disclosure, the New York Attorney General and the Federal Trade Commission opened investigations into the matter. In addition, Equifax faced questions by senators and congressional scrutiny including concerns over stock sales by three senior executives which took place after the breach was discovered but before it was publicly disclosed. The Department of Justice began a criminal probe into those stock sales later in September. The hack has resulted in over 240 class-action lawsuits and more than 60 regulatory or governmental inquiries, Bloomberg reported Wednesday. Last week, the Securities and Exchange Commission announced it had charged Jun Ying, a former chief information officer of a U.S. business unit of the company, with insider trading. According to the SEC’s complaint, Ying, who was next in line to be the company’s global CIO, allegedly used information regarding the hack before it was publicly disclosed to exercise all of his vested stock options and sell the shares, reaping proceeds of nearly $1M and avoiding more than $117,000 in losses.