Patrick Byrne abruptly resigned from Overstock.com, the company he founded, with a rambling, incoherent appearance on FOX News where he claimed that he was asked to spy by “some very honorable people,” including having an affair with now-jailed Russian spy Maria Butina. “I took some orders that seemed very fishy…[but]I’m not working with anybody….I want to disappear….there’s a deep, deep cover-up.” He says he feels responsible for some of the mass shootings. “This is my Soylent Green is people moment.” He says he was offered a billion dollars to keep quiet but predicts an investigation will reveal spying on Hillary Clinton, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, and Donald Trump.”
Where was the board? Whether this outrageous story is true or not, the board should have had serious concerns about some of his previous outrageous statements like his rant agains an anonymous Wall Street figure he called “Sith Lord.” What kind of medical/psychological evaluations did they insist on?
We will be watching to see what kind of severance package he gets.
And then there’s Jimmy Johns owner and big game hunter Jimmy John Liautaud. The hashtag #boycottjimmyjohns was trending on Twitter after he posted a photo of himself with an elephant he killed. His hunting had been controversial before, but it has become viral.
Boards need to be ever-vigilant about reputational/brand risk from the activities and statements of their CEOs.