The board of embattled Equifax Inc. (EFX) announced Tuesday that Richard Smith will retire as chairman of the board and CEO effective immediately.

Smith is the latest executive to leave the company in the wake of a massive data breach that may have impacted 143 million U.S. consumers. In a press release, the board of the credit scoring company said board member Mark Feidler will serve as non-executive chairman. 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. (See also: 6 Key Considerations Following the Equifax Breach.)

"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. 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.,” said Feidler in the press release.

Mounting Repercussions

Earlier this month Equifax revealed that it was hacked and that about 143 million consumers’ data is at risk as well as the credit card numbers of about 209,000 people. The company said hackers may have exploited a U.S. website vulnerability to create malicious code. The information impacted in the breach includes names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses and, in some instances, driver’s license numbers. As part of its investigation, Equifax also identified unauthorized access to limited personal information for certain U.K. and Canadian residents. That news created a huge amount of backlash from consumers, lawmakers and regulators.

In the wake of the breach, the company let go Chief Information Officer David Webb and Chief Security Officer Susan Mauldin. It's also prompted a slew of investigations into what happened including the Federal Trade Commission and every state attorney general. The Securities and Exchange Commission​ is looking into stock sales by three executives after company insiders first became aware of the breach but before it was announced to the public. (See also: Was I Hacked? Find Out If the Equifax Breach Affects You.)

"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," said Smith in the press release announcing his retirement. "Equifax is a substantially stronger company than it was 12 years ago. At this time, however, the Board and Rick agree that a change of leadership is in order."


Want to learn how to invest?

Get a free 10 week email series that will teach you how to start investing.

Delivered twice a week, straight to your inbox.