“Though patriotic Americans are writing me in support, my presence may affect and complicate all manner of business relationships, from insurability to strategic discussions regarding our retail business,” Byrne wrote in his resignation letter. “Thus, 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, both as CEO and board member, effective Thursday August 22.”
Jonathan Johnson has been named as interim CEO of the company. He has been with Overstock for nearly 17 years as a board member.
Byrne, last week, issued a statement referring to federal investigators as “the Men in Black.” It also addressed stories published on a little-known news website and referenced investigations relating to the Clintons and Russian interference in the U.S. elections, political espionage, and the rule of law.
Overstock had been riding high on good earnings news, but after Byrne’s comments, it lost one-third of its value.
While Byrne had previously said he would “speak no more” on the subject, he did address his comments once again in his resignation.
“Coming forward publicly about my involvement in other matters was hardly my first choice,” he said. “But for three years I have watched my country pull itself apart while I knew many answers, and I set my red line at seeing civil violence breaking out. My Rabbi made me see that ‘coming forward’ meant telling the public (not just the government) the truth. I now plan on leaving things to the esteemed Department of Justice (which I have doubtless already angered enough by going public) and disappearing for some time.”
Overstock shares were largely flat after the announcement.
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