Desjardins fires two top executives following June data breach

Canada's largest credit union Desjardins recently fired its chief operating officer and senior information technology vice-president after announcing that the massive data breach in June compromised the personal information of up to 4.2 million customers.

In June, Desjardins announced that it suffered a massive leak of customer records that resulted in the loss of personal information of as many as 2.7 million personal members and 173,000 business members. The credit union said that the breach occurred when "an ill-intentioned employee" shared the massive data tranche with third parties.

The breach compromised first and last names, dates of birth, social insurance numbers, physical addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, and other details of home users and business names, business addresses, phone numbers, business owner's name and AccèsD Affaires account usernames of business customers.

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In November, Desjardins announced in a new press release that it was informed by the Sûreté du Québec (Quebec's police force) that the massive data breach impacted up to 4.2 million customers who used its services in Quebec and Ontario.

"Since the privacy breach was first announced, we've made it clear that we intended to enhance the Desjardins identity protection service. During our appearance today at the Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal, we had already been planning to announce that all caisse members who use AccèsD to do their banking with Desjardins in Ontario and Quebec are now eligible for a 5-year credit monitoring service from Equifax, paid for by Desjardins," said Guy Cormier, President and CEO of Desjardins Group.

Following the massive data exposure, Desjardins offered a paid-for five-year credit monitoring plan to customers that included daily access to credit reports, instant alerts of key changes, and identity theft insurance. At the same time, the company also changed the way it identifies customers in incoming calls to ensure fraudsters cannot take advantage of compromised information to impersonate customers.

Desjardins replaces two top executives to ensure "trust between a president and their management committee"

Earlier this week, Desjardins announced that based on the findings of an internal review that was initiated to examine the privacy breach, it is replacing its Senior Executive Vice-President and Chief Operating Officer as well as its Executive Vice-President of Information Technology with fresh faces who would implement an industry-standard security reporting process and protect the personal information and assets of both customers and clients.

"Several months ago, Desjardins launched an internal review of the privacy breach. Based on the findings of this review, Desjardins is announcing that it is restructuring its senior management.

"Denis Berthiaume, who held the position of Senior Executive Vice-President and Chief Operating Officer of Desjardins has been replaced by Réal Bellemare, formerly Executive Vice-President of Finance, Treasury and Administration and Chief Financial Officer.

"Mr. Bellemare will also be serving as interim Executive Vice-President of Information Technology following the departure of Chadi Habib. The organization will begin the search for Mr. Habib's permanent replacement shortly," the credit union said.

"Trust between a president and their management committee is essential. In light of the events of the last few months, I've decided changes must be made to our senior management team," said Guy Cormier, President and CEO of the company.

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