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Better.com CEO Vishal Garg, who fired 900 employees via Zoom, is back 'after a break'

CNBCTV18 logo CNBCTV18 19-01-2022 Shoma Bhattacharjee
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After firing 900 employees over a Zoom call last month, Vishal Garg, the Indian-origin CEO and Founder of Better.com, is back to lead the mortgage lending company “after a break.”

According to an internal memo reviewed by The New York Times and TechCrunch on January 18, the board of directors said the CEO had taken a break from his full-time duties “to reflect on his leadership, reconnect with the values that make Better great and work closely with an executive coach.”

Exuding confidence in Garg and the decisions he took, the board, which had met Garg several times in the last month, said he would officially resume his duties as the CEO of the company.

Also read: 'I blundered': Better.com CEO Vishal Garg apologises after Zoom firing backlash

Garg came under fire for dismissing 9 percent of the company’s workforce, or 900 employees, via Zoom on December 1. Better.com had received a $750-million cash infusion from investors, including SoftBank, just the day before. Those terminated were not given any prior warning and were asked to leave work immediately.

A number of top employees of the company also resigned shortly afterwards. After being roundly slammed on social media, Garg stepped down and CFO Kevin Ryan replaced him as the interim CEO.

Also read: 'This isn’t real': Mortgage company’s CEO fires 900 employees over Zoom call

Garg had cited performance and productivity as reasons for the layoffs at the time. The CEO is also said to have accused about 250 terminated employees of “stealing” from their colleagues and customers by working two hours a day.

Backed by SoftBank, Better.com had ranked as LinkedIn’s top startup last year. In May, the company had announced its plans to list in the bourses by merging with special purpose acquisition company, Aurora Acquisition Corp. At the time, Better.com was valued at $7.7 billion. However, the company has been delaying its float plans since then.

Meanwhile, employees, who received the email on January 18 of the CEO’s return, are not happy about the move, TechCrunch reported. "Everyone is upset and many people have already quit or are planning to," the report quoted a source as saying.

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