The move, described as a retirement, was made effective immediately on Tuesday. Paulino do Rego Barros Jr., the head of Equifax’s Asian operations, has been named interim CEO, and board member Mark Feidler has been named non-executive chairman.
Hackers exploited a software glitch to gain access to the trove of personal data, the company said. Equifax disclosed earlier this month that the data breach was discovered in July and believed to have taken place from mid-May to July.
The data believed to have been accessed included names, Social Security numbers, birth dates and addresses.
In a statement, Feidler said, “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,” he said. “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.”
Smith had been Equifax's CEO since 2005.
In a statement, Smith called his tenure at Equifax “an honor, and I’m indebted to the 10,000 Equifax employees who have dedicated their lives to making this a better company.”
Although many analysts had applauded Equifax's performance under Smith, he and the rest of his management team had come under fire for lax security and its response to the breach.
Smith is expected to testify before Congress in early October.