Overstock CEO tells investors he sold shares to supplement his salary

The Chief Executive Officer of Overstock.com Inc Patrick Byrne has lashed out at the company’s investors who questioned his earlier decision to sell some of his shares.

Byrne told investors that he sold the shares so as to supplement his annual salary of $100,000, adding that he would never “give such an explanation again.”

In his letter to shareholders after the company’s stock slumped 21% on Wednesday and Thursday this week, revealed he had sold another 400,000 of his founders’ shares.

It followed an earlier disclosure that showed he had sold 500,000 shares, bringing the total to 900,000 shares that account for over 15% of the Byrne’s stake in Overstock.

As he wrote to the shareholders, Overstock shares appeared to rebound after that massive tumble that was the worst since 2012. Overstock OSTK (NASDAQ) was 4.95 %, up on Friday at 12.00 GMT.

Byrne told investors that he “simply had to supplement” his nominal salary and thus the decision to sell his shares. He said the sale was for him to “fulfill personal commitments” that include personal investments in blockchain initiatives like Medici Land Governance.

Stating that the sale also allowed him to “meet charitable pledges,” Byrne added that what he owed the shareholders was to “stay within the law.”

He said:

 “I do not intend to ever give such an explanation again. I owe shareholders staying within the law and not making decisions based on inside information, not explanations of my life and projects outside Overstock.”

Byrne said that he decided to answer to shareholders concerns in order to put a stop any further stirrings of the issue.

The pro-blockchain CEO had owned about 16% of Overstock before his latest sale and is the company’s largest shareholder. A year ago, Byrne reportedly told investors that he was likely to sell some of his shares to finance various projects. In September, he sold nearly 775,000 shares.

Byrne pledged to avail around 1.9 million of his shares, totaling nearly 4.9 million, as collateral in Overstock’s credit deals with banks.