UPDATE 2-Ashley Madison parent CEO quits after huge infidelity data hack

Fri Aug 28, 2015 1:17pm EDT
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(Adds comment from strategist, background on Biderman)

By Alastair Sharp

TORONTO Aug 28 (Reuters) - The chief executive of infidelity website Ashley Madison's parent company Avid Life Media has left, just over a week after hackers leaked data about millions of its clients in a massive cyber assault.

Avid Life said on Friday the departure of Noel Biderman was by "mutual agreement" and its existing senior management team would take over until a new CEO is appointed.

On Aug. 18, hackers who claimed to be unhappy with its business practices released the Ashley Madison customer data, and police probing the breach said it had sparked extortion attempts and at least two unconfirmed suicides.

The data dump contained email addresses of U.S. government officials, UK civil servants and workers at European and North American corporations, taking already deep-seated fears about Internet security and data protection to a new level.

"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.

Biderman, styling himself the "King of Infidelity," had been the company's primary pitchman but the married father of two has not made any public appearances since the attack.

His exit could help appease investors and business partners but would do little to placate subscribers or the public, said Dan Hill, president of strategic communications firm Ervin Hill Strategy.   Continued...