Let's not sugarcoat it, Equifax is a more than few turns past being totally screwed.
After getting spectacularly hacked, evincing possibly bad behavior before admitting that the hack occurred, deeply fucking up the customer outreach post-hack and then letting the CEO "retire," Equifax has managed to swing and miss at every stage of this five alarm fire of a crisis. But now, with Congress ready to pounce on the company like a feral jungle cat hungry for righteous outrage, Equifax is trying to put out some fires and at least create the appearance of a multi-billion public concern that knows its asshole from its elbow.
And it seems like the Equifax board is looking to a comically perfect muse for how to start on the road to recovery. Per the WSJ:
Equifax could announce in coming days that it will claw back compensation from some top executives over its massive data breach, a person familiar with the matter said.
Hmm, this feels familiar...
Potentially affected executives could include former Chief Executive Richard Smith and Susan Mauldin, the company’s former chief security officer, this person said. Mr. Smith this week announced he was stepping aside as Equifax’s chairman and chief executive; Ms. Mauldin retired a week after the company disclosed the data breach on Sept. 7.
Ahh, yes, this is like settling into an old pair of shoes: vague clawbacks on the pay of a departed CEO and an equally "retired" female executive more directly responsible for the disaster that necessitated the clawbacks? Round here, we call that move "The Stumpf and Carrie Two-Step."
See, Wells Fargo has basically rewritten the book on how to handle a PR problem that turns into a nuclear PR fallout. And while Equifax wasn't smart enough to try to shed Mauldin before it disclosed the breach, it also wasn't dumb enough to let her walk away with a huge retirement package months before shit hit the fan.
It also appears that Equifax is not going to let whatever sacrificial executive going into Congress go in without the weapon of having already clawed back money from the chief perpetrators. And now that Smith has saved himself from being torn apart and gutted by Elizabeth Warren live on CSPAN, whoever ends up in that scintillatingly hot seat will thank whatever God they pray to for being able to say "But we DID clawback!"
So now that Equifax is learning from Wells Fargo's mistake, we can expect them to not promote someone way more entangled in Equifax's previous sins to replace Smith, or start admitting that there were other hacks, or...oh man, there's just so much to remember.