The CEO who fired 900 employees on Zoom is back
New York (CNN Business) – CEO of Better.com, Known to fire 900 employees via Zoom Just before Christmas, he’s back at work.
Vishal Garg is returning to “full-time duties” as CEO, according to a letter the company’s board of directors sent to employees on Tuesday. The letter notes that Garg used the leave to “reflect on his leadership, reconnect with the values that make better for better, and work closely with an executive coach.”
The mortgage company’s letter to employees, obtained by CNN Business, said an outside law firm reviewed a “better” corporate workplace culture. The company is implementing changes, including adding more managers and a human resource manager.
In December 2021, Garg made a video call in which he fired 9% of Better’s workforce. “If you’re making that call, you’re part of the unlucky group that got kicked out,” Garg said. “Your employment here has been terminated, effective immediately.”
The CEO had promised a follow-up email from HR, but a former employee told CNN Business he immediately lost access to his company’s computer, phone, email and messages, including Slack channels.
Garg left shortly after the call. At the time, Better said it was outsourcing to an outside company to conduct a “cultural and leadership assessment,” whose recommendations “will be taken into account to build a positive and sustainable long-term culture at Better.”
“Anxiety, Distraction, and Embarrassment”
In his letter to employees, Garg wrote: “I understand how difficult the past few weeks have been. I am deeply sorry for the anxiety, distraction and embarrassment my actions have caused. I have spent a lot of time thinking about where we are now. As a company and the type of leadership needed by the best…and the leader who I want to be him.”
It’s a big change from the post he wrote a few weeks ago on the professional network Blind, in which he accused laid-off employees of “stealing” their colleagues and clients by being unproductive and only working two hours a day, According to FortuneWhich confirmed those sentiments in a subsequent interview with the CEO.
Garg has previously apologized for the way he handled the layoffs in a December 7 letter to employees, saying it made the “difficult situation worse”.
He added, “I have not shown the appropriate amount of respect and appreciation for the people affected and for their contributions to Better. I own the decision to lay off workers, but in communicating that I miscalculated. I embarrassed you.”
Better.com has a net worth of $6.9 billion. The company has been ranked #1 on LinkedIn’s list of Best Startups in 2021 and 2020. The softbank-backed mortgage lender is trying to go public, though it has delayed those plans due to the fallout from handling layoffs for part of Garg, According to Bloomberg.
Tuesday’s letter also said that Raj Deet and Dinesh Chopra have resigned from the board, and that “while we have not commented on individuals’ decisions to leave the board, Raj and Dinesh have not resigned due to any disagreement with Peter.”
Ramisha Maarouf of CNN Business contributed to this report.