Equifax has shunned internal candidates to appoint a permanent successor to chief executive Richard Smith – who was “retired” in the wake of last year’s disastrous data breach – by hiring private equity firm Warburg Pincus’ managing director Mark Begor to lead the company.
Begor, who joins the business next month, will take over from acting CEO Paulino do Rego Barros – who stepped into Smith’s shoes last September – and has the uneviable task of rebuilding the company’s reputation.
He joined Warburg Pincus in 2016 after a 35-year career with General Electric Company, including president and CEO of GE Energy Management, GE Capital Real Estate and GE Capital Retail Finance.
Equifax chairman Mark Feidler said: “After conducting a comprehensive search process, the board is extremely pleased to welcome Mark to the Equifax team. He is a highly accomplished executive with a long track record of successful leadership across a variety of global industries relevant to our business, including his nine-year leadership of General Electric’s retail credit card business, as well as his membership on FICO’s board of directors.
His proven leadership ability, operational expertise, growth focus, financial acumen, strategic vision, and customer orientation make him the right person to lead Equifax into the future.”
Begor, who claimed to “excited to take the helm of Equifax at such a pivotal moment in the company’s history” insisted the team has made “meaningful progress in the last several months to address a number of well-publicised issues while continuing to focus on delivering differentiated new products and advanced analytics to support our customers”.
He added: “I will prioritise 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.”
Earlier this month it was claimed that the 2017 data breach – which affected up to 185 million accounts in the US, Canada and the UK – could end up being the most expensive hack in corporate history, with the final bill topping a staggering $600m (£432m), once regulatory and legal action is completed.
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