Article: Overstock’s Patrick Byrne: the rise and fall of a blockchain pioneer

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Overstock’s Patrick Byrne: the rise and fall of a blockchain pioneer

Scott Thompson, 25 August 2019

Patrick Byrne this week resigned as CEO of US online retailer Overstock. The move closely followed the announcement of disappointing Q2 2019 financial results.

In a letter, he said it was impossible to continue due to distraction and fallout related to his involvement in a Federal Bureau of Investigation Russian espionage probe.

“While I believe that I did what was necessary for the good of the USA, 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,” Byrne wrote. “It has been an honour to serve you through thick and thin, threats grand and arcane, for the past 20 years.”

He also confirmed media reports that he had a personal relationship with Maria Butina, a convicted Russian agent currently in a US prison. Overstock veteran Jonathan Johnson will assume the role of CEO on an interim basis, while Kamelia Aryafar will take his place as board member and Executive Vice President of Overstock Retail.

“Patrick has successfully created and moulded Overstock over the years by pioneering the marriage of tried and proven competitive business principles with cutting edge data analytics and technology; a true visionary,” said Aryafar. “I am excited to join the board and I look forward to continuing the company’s trajectory and contributing to its future success.”

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