The strange publication of longtime Overstock boss Patrick Byrne caused a sharp drop in the stock price of Overstock last week. The company's stock price later rebounded, jumping more than 10% on Thursday to news of Byrne's release.
In a letter to Byrne issued Thursday, he stated that he was "already too controversial to serve as CEO" and decided to step down after 20 years so that his presence would not affect Overstock's business.
Byrne said in an August 12 press release that he had assisted the FBI's Clinton Inquiry and the Russian Inquiry – "acting under the belief that I was assisting law enforcement efforts." He also claims he "put the pieces together" in mid-201
"Going publicly for my participation in other issues was hardly my first choice," Byrne wrote in his resignation letter. "Now I plan to leave the stuff to the respected Ministry of Justice (which, no doubt, I have already gotten angry enough with when it becomes public) and has disappeared for a while."
Byrne recently admitted in a series of interviews that he had an intimate relationship with accused Russian agency Maria Butina, which lasted from 2015 to 2018, and ultimately assisted law enforcement in its investigation  Prosecutors have accused Butina of trying to attack prominent political groups, including the National Rifle Association, to promote Russian interests. She pleaded guilty to a lower number of failing to register as a foreign agent and served 18 months in prison.
Butin's lawyer, Robert Driscoll, said of Byrne's resignation, "I wish him well. I think he raised issues worthy of investigation, jeopardizing his career, as it became apparent."
Byrne shared information the first days of an investigation in Russia at a meeting earlier this year with Justice Department officials, a U.S. official said, confirming his report in a statement last week.
Justice officials found aspects of Byrne's credibility story partly because he shared operational details that are not widely known, a US official said. The official would not say who Byrne met and what he was specifically discussing.
Overstock scheduled a conversation with investors on Monday to discuss changes to its management.
" We respect and understand Patrick's reasons for resigning, and acknowledge his significant accomplishment in taking Overstock from the startup twenty years ago to one of the leading online retailers in the country and positioning him at the forefront of the blockchain revolution, "the board chairman said in a statement. by Overstock Alison Abraham.
The company still plans to aggressively pursue blockchain business opportunities. Jonathan Johnson, president of blockchain company owned by Overstock, Medici Ventures, will serve as interim CEO.
"I am convinced that Overstock's future – in both retail and blockchain – is bright," said Johnson in a statement.
Byrne praised his replacement, saying that Johnson "is very opposite to me in many ways" and he "has no doubt that this may be welcome in some neighborhoods."
– Sarah Murray and David Shortel of CNN contributed to this report.