BUSINESS

Ashley Madison CEO Noel Biderman Resigns

08/28/2015 10:41 EDT

The CEO of Ashley Madison owner Avid Life Media has resigned in the wake of a hack attack that saw data on 37 million subscribers released to the public.

“Effective today, Noel Biderman, in mutual agreement with the company, is stepping down as Chief Executive Officer of Avid Life Media Inc.,” vice president Andrew S. Ricci said in a statement emailed to HuffPost Canada.

Biderman “is no longer with the company,” Ricci added. Biderman founded the dating site for cheaters in 2001, leading the company to gross earnings of $115 million last year.

Following the release of hacked subscriber data earlier this month, the hacker group The Impact Team last week released a trove of internal Avid Life Media emails, including many sent by Biderman.

The data dump pulled Biderman into the controversy surrounding the dating site for people seeking extramarital affairs. Despite repeated claims to the contrary, news reports indicated Biderman had multiple affairs, including one with a Toronto-area escort.

The security blog Krebs on Security alleged Biderman and his colleagues hacked a competing dating service, nerve.com, in 2012.

A recent analysis of the leaked subscriber data suggested there may be very few women active on the site -- several thousand out 5.5 million female accounts.

Biderman, who touted himself as "the king of infidelity," made millions off the philosophy that cheating is a natural part of married life. The site charges a fee each time a member sends a potential lover a message.

Biderman has written books espousing his views on adultery, including one published in 2011 titled: "Cheaters Prosper — How Infidelity Will Save The Modern Marriage."

Avid Life's statement released Friday went on to say that it's "actively adjusting" to the fallout from the hacking and continues to provide access to its services. The company, which has offered a $500,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the hackers, adds that it continues to cooperate with international law enforcement in their investigations.

Hackers originally breached Avid Life's systems in July, accusing it of filling the site with fake profiles and charging fees for wiping profiles that were never truly deleted. The hackers posted the information online a month later after the company didn't comply with their demands to shut down.

The posting of the data — including names, emails, home addresses, financial data and message history — has so far resulted in a flurry of lawsuits throughout the U.S. There also have been reports of extortion attempts and two unconfirmed suicides, according to Toronto police.

-- With a file from The Associated Press