Patrick Byrne
© Getty Images
Patrick Byrne, former CEO Overstock
Overstock CEO Partick Byrne resigned from the e-commerce company Thursday, 10 days after making comments about his role in the "deep state."

Shares of Overstock popped as much as 17% after being halted for the news. Shares were up 9% later in the afternoon.

Byrne said in a statement:
"In July I came forward to a small set of journalists regarding my involvement in certain government matters. 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. 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.

"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."

Byrne also touched on Overstock's business strategy in the letter addressed to shareholders, noting that the company could consider the possibility of M&A in the future.
"If the right strategic offer is made that reflects the value of that technological gem, I am confident the board will consider it. It is possible that my absence will advance the possibility."
Byrne, who founded Overstock 20 years ago, has been in hot water since he responded to claims of his involvement in the federal government's investigation into the 2016 election. The announcement sent Overstock's shares tumbling more than 30% over the following days.

In a statement titled "Overstock.com CEO Comments on Deep State, Withholds Further Comment," Byrne referred to federal agents as the "Men in Black" and said he assisted in investigations related to the Clintons and Russian interference.

In an interview with The New York Times published three days later, Byrne claimed he was romantically involved with Maria Butina, the Russian operative who used her National Rifle Association activism to infiltrate American politics. She was later sentenced to 18 months in prison.

Overstock said it would appoint Jonathan Johnson, an Overstock board member and president of Overstock's blockchain subsidiary Medici Ventures, as interim CEO.

Board Chairwoman Allison Abraham said in a statement:
"We respect and understand Patrick's reasons for resigning and acknowledge his momentous achievement in taking Overstock from a startup twenty years ago to one of the nation's leading online retailers and positioning it at the forefront of the blockchain revolution."
To read the full letter from Byrne go here.