Who Is Noel Biderman, The Ex-Ashley Madison CEO Who Left The Company After Its Massive Data Breach?
It's been a tumultuous several weeks for denizens of extramarital affair website Ashley Madison, thanks to the high-profile hack and release of millions of users' information in mid-August. It was a seismic dilemma for the website, essentially the biggest nightmare scenario an affair-arranging service could even sustain, and now the other shoe appears to have dropped: Noel Biderman, the CEO of Ashley Madison's parent company Avid Life Media, resigned on Friday.
It's the conclusion of an eight-year run tenure for Biderman, who was appointed to President of Avid Life Media in 2007, according to his website, and added the CEO title in mid-2010, on the heels of a dramatic escalation in Ashley Madison's public presence. A statement from Avid Life Media announced the news, and there was no kind of well-wishing or reminiscing about Biderman's career there — rather, in the heat of such a major scandal, it seems all about changing the guard and moving on quickly.
Effective today, Noel Biderman, in mutual agreement with the company, is stepping down as Chief Executive Officer of Avid Life Media Inc. (ALM) and is no longer with the company. Until the appointment of a new CEO, the company will be led by the existing senior management team.
This change is in the best interest of the company and allows us to continue to provide support to our members and dedicated employees. We are steadfast in our commitment to our customer base.
We are actively adjusting to the attack on our business and members' privacy by criminals. We will continue to provide access to our unique platforms for our worldwide members.
We are actively cooperating with international law enforcement in an effort to bring those responsible for the theft of proprietary member and business information to justice.
Biderman, who was born in 1971, was facing a number of obstacles continuing as CEO. The hack was undoubtedly the inciting incident for all this Ashley Madison–related drama — approximately 37 million users of the website have been exposed, and that's kind of a big deal when your business is spousal infidelity.
While it's unclear what legal ramifications will come out of this, if any, there have already been a lot of personal consequences for the people who had their privacy compromised. There have already been reports of divorces stemming from the disastrous data theft, as detailed by WTAE, marriages that have been disrupted by the unexpected revelation of a cheating husband or wife.
Biderman was also contending with a major disruption in the site's business plans — just months prior to the hack, Avid Life Media had been preparing for an IPO, aiming to get listed on the London Stock Exchange. Those plans, needless to say, are frozen for the moment. Furthermore, revelations about the numbers of women active on the site as compared to men — according to Gizmodo, there are millions less female accounts overall, and thousands of them are apparently fake — has also drawn some unwanted scrutiny.
In other words, this sort of reaction on the part of Ashley Madison and Avid Life Media was bound to happen sometime. Given what a cataclysmic incident all this has been for the company, the brand, and its ambitions going forward, it's not surprising that Biderman's got a new job search in front of him.