Equifax special committee says executive stock sales were in the clear

Equifax trading information and the company logo are displayed on a screen where the stock is traded on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange in New York.

Brendan McDermid | Reuters

Equifax trading information and the company logo are displayed on a screen where the stock is traded on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange in New York.

Equifax said a special committee formed by its board to examine executive stock sales prior to the disclosure of the massive data breach this summer found nothing wrong with the trades.

The committee found that four executives sold shares between July 28 and August 2, including John Gamble, the CFO, Joseph Loughran and Rodolfo Ploder, who run two of its business units, and Douglas Brandberg, a senior staffer in investor relations.

The sale of $1.8 million in stock within days of the internal discovery of the breach sparked widespread criticism. It previously had been known that three executives sold shares. Equifax discovered the breach in late July but didn’t disclose it to the public until Sept. 7. It affected the personal identification information for more than 145 million people.

The committee’s six-page report on its findings, released Friday, concluded that none of the executives knew about the security breach when they asked to clear their stock trades. The committee also concluded that the sales were properly approved, followed company policy, and weren’t insider trading.

Equifax said the committee interviewed dozens of people and reviewed more than 55,000 emails, text messages, phone logs and other documents. “The conclusion that the Company executives in question traded appropriately is an extremely important finding and very reassuring,” said Mark Feidler, Equifax’s non-executive chairman.

Shares of Equifax fell 0.8 percent in pre-market trading.

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