Equifax Shareholders Re-Elect Board Members in Wake of Breach

(Bloomberg) -- Equifax Inc. board members survived a shareholder vote in the wake of a security breach that exposed the personal information of more than 145 million consumers.

The results from the vote at Equifax’s annual shareholder meeting Thursday in Atlanta are preliminary, the company said in a statement. Investors also approved the executive-compensation plan.

The September disclosure that hackers stole sensitive data from the credit-reporting firm drew outrage from lawmakers, banking clients and regulators and forced the departures of several senior managers, including Chief Executive Officer Richard Smith. One former executive, Jun Ying, faces criminal and civil charges for insider trading before the breach was made public.

Thursday’s gathering was closed to the media and wasn’t webcast. Equifax barred attendees from bringing electronic devices such as cell phones and cameras into the room, a policy that wasn’t in place during previous annual meetings, regulatory filings show.

Last month, proxy advisers Institutional Shareholder Services Inc. and Glass Lewis & Co. recommended that investors vote against directors Mark Feidler, John McKinley and Mark Templeton. ISS also said Elane Stock and Thomas Hough, who served on the committee overseeing technology with the other three, should be defeated.

“The company’s problematic response to the breach indicates the board’s and the company’s unpreparedness to deal with cybersecurity risk,” Glass Lewis said in a report. “Given the amount of reputational harm, we believe shareholders would be better served by a refreshment” of the technology committee.

Since the breach, Equifax’s board has enhanced its clawback policy to help it recoup bonuses from executives if misconduct or oversight lapses cause financial or reputational harm. The company also added a cybersecurity performance metric to its annual bonus plan. Last month, former Warburg Pincus LLC managing director Mark Begor took over as CEO.

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