Equifax CEO Rick Smith leaves abruptly

  • Push-out Score suggests push-out forces
  • After almost twelve years on the job
  • Praise for Smith
  • Paulino Barros taking over in the interim
  • Search for a successor
  • Smith made a lengthy statement and said 70 words

(exechange) — Atlanta, Georgia, September 26, 2017 — Rick Smith, chief executive of Equifax, leaves. It is an abrupt change. As announced by Equifax Inc. in a news release and in a regulatory filing published on Tuesday, September 26, 2017, Richard F. (Rick) Smith leaves the post as Chief Executive Officer at the consumer credit reporting agency after almost twelve years on the job, effective immediately.

It is the end of an era.

Among the 3,000 largest publicly held companies incorporated in the U.S. based on market capitalization, only 37 percent of the CEOs who departed over the past twelve months left after more than ten years. Overall, the average tenure of those who left was 9 years, according to data compiled by exechange.

Equifax will undertake a search for a successor.

Smith’s duties are taken over in the interim by Paulino Barros, most recently President, Asia Pacific at Equifax Inc.

“Critical juncture”

The sudden management change is explained as follows. Smith said in a fairly blunt statement: “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.”

Precise information about the future plans of Smith was not immediately available.


Equifax said: “Richard Smith will retire as Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer, effective September 26, 2017.”

Share price decline

The change follows a sharp decline in the share price of Equifax Inc. since September 08, 2017.

On the job as CEO since 2005

Richard F. Smith has been the Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer at Equifax Inc. since December 15, 2005.

Prior to joining Equifax, Smith spent 22 years with GE holding several president and chief executive officer roles across numerous businesses including Engineering Thermoplastics, Asset Management, Leasing, and Insurance Solutions.

GE appointed Smith an officer of the company in1999.

In May 2010, Smith was inducted into Georgia State University’s J. Mack Robinson College ‘Business Hall of Fame.’

He was the 2013 chairman of the Atlanta Committee for Progress where he is a current board member, and also serves on the board of directors for the Commerce Club.

Smith was the 2009 chairman of the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce and now serves on its board of directors and executive committee.

As co-chairman of the Atlanta Super Bowl Bid Committee, Smith was part of the team instrumental in Atlanta’s winning bid for Super Bowl LIII in 2019.

An avid supporter of education and periodic guest lecturer for universities around the country, Smith has made education a key focus of the Equifax Foundation.

Smith is a member of the executive board of Dallas’ Southern Methodist University’s Cox School of Business.

In Atlanta, he is chairman of The Lovett School governance committee, former chairman of the strategic planning committee and serves on its board of trustees.

Smith is currently a trustee for The Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Atlanta and has formerly been a director of the Operation HOPE global board, director of the YMCA of Metropolitan Atlanta, and a Trustee of the Woodruff Arts Center.

Smith earned a bachelor’s degree from Purdue University.

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

Push-out Score suggests push-out forces

It is not completely certain what forces eventually triggered Rick Smith’s sudden move.

The Push-out Score™ determined by exechange suggests that push-out forces may have contributed to the management change.

Read the full story in the exechange report 40.2017 ($).