Equifax, a consumer credit rating agency that gathers information on close to a billion customers experienced a massive data breach. It is estimated that 143 million people had their data exposed due to a breach by cyber criminals. Sensitive information was exposed such as credit card numbers, social security numbers and addresses. To make matters worse, three executive managers sold stock days before the breach was made public. In the aftermath of the debacle, Richard Smith, the former CEO of Equifax retired due to public pressure. Instead of retiring in shame and controversy, he got a massive pay day.
Smith is estimated to receive $90.1 million during his retirement. Because he retired and not fired, Smith is set to collect “$72 million this year alone (including nine months’ worth of his $1,450,000 salary), plus another $17.9 million over the next few years. That’s when the rest of Smith’s stock compensation hits a few important milestones or “vests,” allowing Smith to essentially put it in his bank account” according to Fortune. However, Smith was denied a severance of $5.2 million. We should all feel so bad for him.
Now it is impossible to pin the breach squarely on Smith’s shoulders, but someone needs to take accountability. Receiving $.63 cents for every customer that had sensitive information exposed does not sit well with me and it shouldn’t with you either. If you even only have a vague understanding of U.S history you know that white collar crime skirts by in the judicial system. Look at the aftermath of the Great Recession for an example. CEO’s of major financial institutions ran their companies into the ground and then gave themselves huge bonuses with the taxpayer funded bailout. My biggest gripe with President Obama is he didn’t prosecute any major bankers.
In my eyes, the CEO of a company that screws over the American people is much more of a criminal than some teenager who gets caught with some pot on them and actually goes to jail. America’s priorities are wrong. President Trump has promised to drain the swamp but he has put many of those same executives that benefited from your misery in his administration such as the “foreclosure king” Steve Mnuchin. The American people need to stand up to corporate greed and take their country back. Equifax is only the latest example in a long line of corruption with Wells Fargo preceding it.
Richard Smith was recently grilled in a testimony to congress on Capitol Hill. Washington politicians have a bad habit of threatening to do the right thing but not following through. If I was a betting man I would bet that Richard Smith will get his $90 million from screwing over 143 million people. That’s a sad reality that we have in the U.S. White collar accountability is a thing of the past. Hopefully soon we can get people in office that will truly drain the swamp.