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Overstock Names New CEO, Acting Finance Chief

Jonathan Johnson had been serving as interim CEO since the abrupt departure of controversial founder Patrick Byrne last month.
Matthew HellerSeptember 23, 2019

Jonathan Johnson

Overstock, the e-commerce giant that has been reeling from the abrupt departure of its controversial founder, on Monday made its interim CEO the permanent chief and named a new acting CFO.

Jonathan Johnson had been serving as interim CEO since founder Patrick Byrne resigned from Overstock in August after disclosing he had been in a romantic relationship with a woman accused of being a Russian spy.

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“Jonathan is … the best choice to lead Overstock ,” Allison Abraham, the company’s chairwoman, said in a news release. “He has the right experience in both our retail and blockchain businesses.”

Overstock also said CFO Greg Iverson resigned last week and will be replaced on an interim basis by Robert Hughes, a former senior vice president of finance and risk management at the company. It gave no reason for Iverson’s departure.

Hughes will continue to serve as president of Medici Land Governance, an Overstock affiliate that is applying blockchain technology to property-registry systems.

“I’ve worked closely with Rob for many years and he is a great person to oversee our finance department while we look for a permanent CFO,” Johnson said.

Rob Hughes

In trading Monday, Overstock shares fell 20% to $11.98 after it also sharply reduced its third-quarter guidance for its retail business. It now expects adjusted EBITDA to break even after previously forecasting a profit of $17.5 million.

“I’m confident we can rapidly return our retail business to profitable growth,” Johnson said.

As CoinDesk reports, “The company has had a turbulent two months,” with Byrne also apparently attempting before his resignation to “stymie short sellers he believed were targeting the firm by controversially opting to issue Overstock’s next investor dividend through a digital asset on the firm’s subsidiary exchange tZERO.”

Byrne announced last week that he had dumped all his shares in Overstock, blaming the “deep state” and the government.

Hughes joined Overstock as controller in 2008 and was promoted to SVP of finance in 2013. He moved to Medici Ventures in April 2018 as CFO of its DeSoto subsidiary and was then named president of Medici Land Governance in August.