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Overstock makes executive moves

Patrick Byrne has relinquished his role as chairman of Overstock.com and Stormy Simon was named president of the online discount retailer.

Byrne will continue to serve as CEO while current executive vice chairman Jonathan Johnson assumes the chairman responsibilities Byrnes has held since 2006. Johnson’s prior responsibilities as corporate secretary will be assumed by Mark Griffin who serves as SVP and general counsel. Simon, who previously served as co-president of the company was named president and retains her seat on the board while David Nielsen will continue in his role as co-president.

"I have long maintained that simply as a matter of good institutional design, the roles of chairman and CEO should be split,” Byrne said. “For that reason my father held the position for years, as much as his health and other duties permitted. It has been back in my hands for some years, but for the completion of many of the duties of chairman I have come to rely more and more on Jonathan Johnson, another long-termer at the company who has made enormous contributions in the areas of finance, legal, and government affairs, and who has also had, at one time or another, nearly every piece of the company reporting to him.”

Byrne said Johnson understands the complexities of the company and the legal environment in which it operates and has the respect of the board.

“Now is the right time for Jonathan to assume the position of chairman, for which he has been in preparation for so long,” Bryne said.

Regarding Simon’s appointment as president, Bryne called her the company’s secret weapon whose ideas and leadership have been crucial to Overstock.com’s success.

“Stormy walked in off the street for a temp job, but within a few months was building our early B2B business, then dreamed up, wrote, and produced our famous 'Have You Discovered the Secret of the Big O?' commercials and the vast majority of our ads since then,” Bryne said.

Simon ran the company’s marketing through its high growth phase, ran customer service, developed a supply chain organization and overseen human resources.

“Most importantly, Stormy is an empath who, like Star Trek's Deanna Troi, wanders through our organization psychically tuning it up wherever it is needed. I am just along for Stormy's ride,” Byrne said.

Simon joined the Overstock board in May 2011 and Johnson was named executive vice chairman last May.