Better.com CEO "takes time" after sacking workers on Zoom

the mercurial general manager of Better.com, Vishal Garg , faced rapid backlash for its decision to lay off more than 900 employees in a...


the mercurial general manager of Better.com, Vishal Garg, faced rapid backlash for its decision to lay off more than 900 employees in a Zoom call last week. The mortgage lender’s board of directors announced in a memo sent to staff on Friday that Mr. Garg was “taking time off” after the “very unfortunate events.”

“I come to you with no good news,” Garg had told about 9 percent of his staff, in a recording since widely shared online. “If you’re on that call, you’re part of the unlucky group that’s being laid off. Your employment here is terminated with immediate effect.

Better.com, which is backed by SoftBank, brought in a third-party company to assess its leadership and culture, according to a copy of the board’s memo obtained by The New York Times. Several senior officials resigned following the layoffs, two in communications and one in marketing. Better.com did not respond to a request for comment on Friday.

Christian Chapman, 41, a former underwriting trainer at Better.com, said he used to prepare for company meetings by making sure his kids weren’t around, as Mr. Garg tended to to use foul language. But last Wednesday, when he received an unexpected invitation to the company call with Mr. Garg, he had a hunch because the CEO looked so solemn.

As Mr Garg calmly delivered the news, Mr Chapman said his ‘gut had fallen to the ground’ and he tried to message his teammates asking them what was going on, but his access to the computer was shut down almost immediately.

“I’ve been through layoffs and usually there’s a shutdown because you talk to HR, you go to your office and take your belongings and say goodbye,” Chapman said. “There is no closure here. You are looking at a blank screen in your house.

It took him about three hours to receive a follow-up email, reviewed by The Times, which explained the terms of the layoff, Chapman added. On Thursday, the company increased its severance pay from one to two months’ salary. He also received a Christmas package containing a trophy, certificate and a corporate T-shirt (which his wife offered to burn).

Mr Chapman said the CEO’s message about laid-off employees “robbing” the company by working just two hours a day – something the former employee said was contradicted by recent promotions and increases in his team – had made it difficult for them to apply for New Job.

Mr. Garg apologized for his behavior on the Zoom call. In one note dated Tuesday which was posted on the company’s website, Garg said he had the option of making layoffs but had “blundered” the approach.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Better.com CEO "takes time" after sacking workers on Zoom
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