Vishal Garg, the CEO of Better.com, who fired 900 employees, or 9% of its workforce, weeks before Christmas via a mass Zoom call, is "taking time off effective immediately" on Friday morning, according to Vice News. The controversial firings come ahead of a public merger with a special purpose acquisition company, or SPAC.
On Dec. 1, Garg fired 900 employees over a three-minute Zoom call. He later admitted to "blundering the execution:"
"I failed to show the appropriate amount of respect and appreciation for the individuals who were affected and for their contributions to Better. I own the decision to do the layoffs, but in communicating it I blundered the execution. In doing so, I embarrassed you," the CEO said, in a leaked email to employees.
On Friday, the board of directors of the digital mortgage company emailed employees and said Garg is "taking time off effective immediately." The email also said they hired an outside firm to "do a leadership and cultural assessment."
Vice obtained the email Friday. Here's what the board of directors told employees:
Vishal and the Board wanted to provide Better employees an update given the very regrettable events over the last week.
Vishal will be taking time off effective immediately. During this interim period Kevin Ryan as CFO will be managing the day-to-day decisions of the company and he will be reporting to the board. As well, the board has engaged an independent 3rd party firm to do a leadership and cultural assessment. The recommendations of this assessment will be taken into account to build a long-term sustainable and positive culture at Better. We have much work to do and we hope that everyone can refocus on our customers and support each other to continue to build a great company and a company we can be proud of.
Better Board of Directors
In a short Zoom call last Wednesday, the CEO told employees, "If you're on this call, you are part of the unlucky group that is being laid off." After the mass firing via teleconferencing, the CEO received sharp criticism for the firings.
The firings come ahead of a SPAC deal to take the company public. Better.com's deal is through blank-check company Aurora Acquisition Corp.
TechCrunch has reported heads of Better.com's PR, communications, and marketing departments resigned after the mass Zoom firing controversy.