Athenahealth co-founder and top executive Jonathan Bush has stepped down as CEO, president and member of the Watertown, Mass.-based health information technology company's board of directors, according to a June 6 statement on the company's website.

The news comes on the heels of reports that Bush physically assaulted his former wife more than a decade ago and settled with female employees over sexual harassment claims. Additionally, athenahealth has been targeted by activist hedge fund Elliott Management, which recently offered to buy the company for roughly $6.9 billion cash.

According to the statement released Wednesday, the company's board of directors will consider a sale, merger or other transaction involving the company, along with the possibility of remaining independent.

The board has initiated a search for a new CEO and president who will "maximize shareholder value and better position athenahealth to capitalize on its premier health care technology platform."

A statement from Bush released Wednesday reads:

"I believe that working for something larger than yourself is the greatest thing a human can do. A family, a cause, a company, a country — these things give shape and purpose to an otherwise mechanical and brief human existence. Athenahealth is a near once-in-a-lifetime example of such a thing. With that lens on, it's easy for me to see that the very things that made me useful to the company and cause in these past 21 years, are now exactly the things that are in the way. I cannot imagine a single organization more loaded with potential to transform health care."

Bush co-founded athenahealth in 1997 as a cloud-based alternative to software systems used by medical offices for billing. The company opened offices in Belfast in 2008 and is now among the largest employers in Waldo County with 800 to 1,000 workers.