Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne resigns in wake of 'deep state' remarks

"If the hors d’oeuvre that was served recently caused the market such indigestion, it is not going to be in shareholder interest for me to be around if and when any main course is served," Byrne wrote to shareholders.
Written by Stephanie Condon, Senior Writer

Overstock.com CEO Patrick Byrne resigned on Thursday and stepped down from Overstock's board of directors, severing all ties from the e-commerce business he founded 20 years ago. The move comes in the wake of his recent comments about his involvement with the "deep state.

"While I believe that I did what was necessary for the good of the country, for the good of the firm, I am in the sad position of having to sever ties with Overstock," Byrne wrote in a letter to shareholders Thursday. "My presence may affect and complicate all manner of business relationships, from insurability to strategic discussions regarding our retail business." 

After Byrne published a shareholder letter earlier this month regarding his cooperation with "Men in Black," shares of Overstock.com fell by 36 percent

Overstock.com's board of directors has named Jonathan Johnson as the company's interim CEO. Johnson has been with Overstock.com for nearly 17 years, serves on the board and is the president of Medici Ventures, Overstock's wholly-owned blockchain subsidiary. 

"You could not have a more stable, prudent leader," Byrne wrote to shareholders. "The reason we have been such good partners is that Jonathan is the exact opposite of me in many respects."

Kamelia Aryafar, Overstock's Chief Algorithms Officer, is being promoted to Executive Vice President of Overstock's retail business and is joining the board of directors. She's also keeping her title as Chief Algorithms Office and will oversee Overstock's continued implementation of a data-driven and machine learning strategy across the customer, marketing and sourcing departments. 

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