American retailer Overstock has confirmed the appointment of Jonathan Johnson as its new interim boss after crypto-keen Patrick Byrne stepped down as CEO and board member on August 22. Shares in the company shot up by 8.31% in the hours after Overstock revealed the news.
Byrne stepped into a hurricane of controversy in the United States after admitting he had been probed by “men in black” over investigations into Russian involvement in the 2016 United States presidential elections. He also admitted to having a relationship with convicted Russian spy Maria Butina, who is currently serving time in an American prison.
Johnson ran for governor of Utah in 2016, and received funding from Byrne as part of his (ultimately unsuccessful) campaign.
With Byrne at the helm, Overstock made headlines all over the world in 2014, when it became one of the first major retailers in the world to accept payments in Bitcoin.
Byrne also oversaw the launch of tZERO, Overstock’s security token trading platform.
In a farewell message to shareholders, Byrne stated,
“I think the blockchain revolution will reshape key social institutions. We have designed and breathed life into perhaps the most significant blockchain keiretsu [business network] in the world a network of blockchain firms seeking to revolutionize identity, land governance, central banking, capital markets, supply chains, and voting.”
Overstock stated that Johnson will continue to serve on the boards of Overstock, tZERO and the company’s blockchain investment arm, Medici Ventures. Johnson will also continue in his role as president of Medici Ventures, the company confirmed.