Overstock CEO’s rant sinks stock 36%, a reminder that when CEOs talk, people listen

An unhinged statement about the Deep State from Overstock’s CEO sent the company’s stock spiraling down 36%, illustrating the danger of loose-lipped CEOs.

August 16, 2019

Patrick Byrne, the eccentric CEO of Overstock known for betting big on blockchain and, well, saying strange things, has done it again: This time, he issued a befuddling statement on the “Deep State.”

Byrne’s statement — check it out here, it’s worth a full read — claims that he accidentally “helped the Men in Black” (his term for the FBI) conduct a Deep State campaign of ”political espionage conducted against Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.”

He concluded by saying that, having given his comment and cleared his conscience, he would “speak no more on the subject.” But the wide-eyed head-scratching had already begun…

No one asked for this, Pat

Confused investors in Overstock soon began selling their shares in the company, sending the stock price down more than 36% by midweek (although shares began to rebound yesterday).

Whether or not anything Byrne said was true, the rantings of the conspira-CEO prove an important point:

CEOs’ statements have A TON of impact…

Even when they’re kinda deranged. 

We’ve seen it all before: Does anyone not remember Elon Musk’s infamous “Funding secured” Tweet?

In both cases, rogue CEO statements had huge negative impacts on their businesses in the short term… and required lots of cleanup. 

Both businesses weathered the storms brought on by their chief executives, but these outbursts are a reminder that paying more attention to CEO Twitter feeds than corporate balance sheets can pose some serious problems.

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