Overstock dot-gone: Surplus biz CEO now surplus to requirements, ejects after MiB rant
Ten days after releasing a corporate press release that raved about the deep state, men in black, and confirmed his love affair with a now-jailed Russian spy, the CEO of Overstock has quit – in similarly colorful fashion.
If you thought that seeing the public company’s share price plummet 38 per cent would sober up Patrick Byrne, you’d be wrong. The 56-year-old took the opportunity he had to resign with grace and decided against it.
“In July I came forward to a small set of journalists regarding my involvement in certain government matters,” begins the official Overstock.com press release. And it does not get better.
“Doing so was not my first choice, but I was reminded of the damage done to our nation for three years and felt my duty as a citizen precluded me from staying silent any longer. So, I came forward in as carefully and well-managed fashion as I could.”
By carefully and well-managed, Mr Byrne means to say that he wrote down a series of increasingly improbable claims in which he tied the investigation into Russian election interference with shadowy forces, the death of a basketball player, the economic recession, and conspiracies against Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz – and then published them through the official press account of the public company that he oversaw.
Highlighting that this latest press release was following the same stream of consciousness approach that is more common in conspiratorial corners of Twitter than corporate communications, Bryne then undermines his previous sentence about being careful and well-managed by calling himself haphazard.
“The news that I shared is bubbling (however haphazardly) into the public. 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,” he notes.
And he’s right, having a CEO claim that he “helped the Men In Black shake up Wall Street a decade ago” when all his company does is sell surplus stock from other retailers at a discount is likely to have an impact on how people perceive him and the business he was in charge of.
What looks like an unhealthy amount of megalomania and paranoia is still there though, 10 days later. He continues: “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.”
Translation: the board has fired me for going mad. In public. And in subsequent worried follow-up calls.