Is the father of Overstock.com's
"I don't think it's a wise idea to be chairman with a headstrong son," he said. "I'd rather keep my relationship with my son than be the chairman of the board of another company."
Jack is referring to his concerns that Patrick has been devoting too much time to personal vendettas against Overstock.com short sellers, hedge funds, naked shorts, and even Dow Jones
The elder Byrne isn't chairman of his son's company for the sake of sonly nepotism. Jack is a legend in the insurance industry, at one time heading up GEICO for good friend Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway
Perhaps it's Jack's mastery of actuary tables and insurance float that have him wondering if his defection would force his son to allocate his time a little better. Rather inexplicably, shares of Overstock climbed in aftermarket trading last night after the Journal report was published online. Does anyone really think that Patrick is going to stop his rage against the bearish machine because his father is considering stepping down as chairman to serve as a mere company director?
Of course not. However, the irony is rich if Patrick's colorful accusations -- some perhaps valid, some perhaps not -- are distracting him from running the show at Overstock to the point where his crusades have distanced the fast-growing yet deficit-ridden discounter from dreams of profitability.
Patrick has claimed in the past that his company is severely undervalued relative to Amazon.com
I'm not from the camp that believes that a few less Sith Lord conspiracy theories are what are holding Overstock back. That's just another reason why I found the overnight stock gain a bit amusing. If anything, Overstock.com has more troublesome distractions inside itself. You know, like an auctions business that can't topple eBay
Overstock was one of the original Rule Breakers recommendations, until David Gardner recently soured on the shares and advised subscribers to move on. Whether Jack stays on as chairman or not, it's not going to change the facts. If anything, if Jack is concerned about his son's public distractions, he is probably best served to stay on to make sure that the promising retailer is anchored by someone who is all about focusing on the operations. Teach your son how it's done, Jack. Finish what you started.
It's all about the O-hana, Jack. And ohana means family.
Yes, the Fool has been known to heart an online retailer or two. Amazon and eBay are active recommendations in the Stock Advisor newsletter service.
Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz has a few conspiracy theories about conspiracy theorists. He does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this story. T he Fool has a disclosure policy. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early.