Noel Biderman founded Ashley Madison in 2001 and Avid Life Media acquired it in 2007, but Biderman retained his position as the CEO of the parent company until he stepped down yesterday following the massive data breach the adultery website suffered in the hands of online hackers.
Senior management would oversee things in the company until a new CEO is appointed, and Avid Life disclosed Biderman’s stepping down was by “mutual agreement.”
Hackers on August 18 compromised the personal data of millions of users using the website to cheat on their spouses – releasing troves of customers’ names, phone numbers, financial details, home addresses, phone numbers, and other personally identifiable data. This data dump also contained the personal data of US government officials, UK workers, and top managers at European and North American corporations.
“This change is in the best interest of the company and allows us to continue to provide support to our members and dedicated employees,” the Toronto-based company said.
But analysts don’t see how the exit of Biderman would appease the hackers or placate subscribers whose personal information were revealed to the public by the cyber bullies.
“Given the number of battles they are fighting that are so significant and high profile, I don’t see how this is going to move the needle for them,” said Dan Hill, president of strategic communications firm Ervin Hill Strategy. “You can’t run an organisation through a crisis by committee,” he said, underscoring the need for the company to find another CEO fast.
Amy Pascal, co-chairman of Sony Pictures America stepped down in February after hackers attacked Sony Corp’s Hollywood studio; and the CEO of Target Corp left after a 2013 online security breach exposed the personal and financial records of millions of customers.
“Breaches are huge financial issues, even existential issues for companies. They are getting bigger and more impactful to the companies being breached,” disclosed Chris Wysopal, Chief Technology Officer of cyber security firm Veracode.