TORONTO – Ashley Madison CEO Noel Biderman is ending his relationship with the adultery website he founded 14 years ago, weeks after the Toronto-based company was hacked in an attack that dealt a blow to its reputation for discretion.
“This change is in the best interest of the company and allows us to continue to provide support to our members and dedicated employees,” Ashley Madison said in a statement on its website Friday. “We are steadfast in our commitment to our customer base.”
Ashley Madison and Biderman mutually agreed he should step down, the statement said. The company did not immediately return messages for comment.
The website, which facilitates extramarital affairs for a membership fee, was the victim of a cyberattack a month ago. The breach saw hackers leak a list of names purported to be users of Ashley Madison, claiming that the company refused to bow to their demands to close the site.
The hackers also claimed to have exposed data on millions of spouses who signed up.
The breach was an embarrassment for Ashley Madison, which has staked its reputation on being discreet. The company, whose slogan is “Life is short. Have an affair,” purports to have nearly 40 million members.
In a television interview last year, Biderman described the company’s servers as “kind of untouchable.”
Biderman promoted himself as “the king of infidelity,” espousing a notion that cheating is a natural part of married life.
He has written books about his views on adultery, including one published in 2011 titled,”Cheaters Prosper — How Infidelity Will Save The Modern Marriage.”
The company said it continues to co-operate with police to apprehend those responsible for the hack and has offered a $500,000 reward for anyone with information that results in the identification, arrest and conviction of the person or people responsible.
Ashley Madison’s existing senior management team will lead the operations until a replacement leader is found, the company said.
Ashley Madison was started in late 2001 and officially launched its website on Jan. 21, 2002.
— With files from The Associated Press