Better.com CEO Vishal Garg, who laid off 900 employees over a Zoom meeting that lasted less than three minutes, is taking time off from the company, Vice reported.
“If you’re on this call, you are part of the unlucky group that is being laid off,” Garg said on the December 1 webinar. “Your employment here is terminated, effective immediately,” he told them.
Garg’s leave is also effective immediately, according to a Friday email from the company’s board of directors. Day-to-day operations will be taken over by the company’s CFO, Kevin Ryan. Better.com added that it is hiring a third party firm to do a “leadership and cultural assessment,” whose recommendations “will be taken into account to build a long-term sustainable and positive culture at Better.”
CNN Business has viewed the email and has asked Better.com for comment.
“The recommendations of this assessment will be taken into account to build a long-term sustainable and positive culture at Better,” the email said.
The online mortgage company’s mass layoff affected about 9% of its staff. Just days later, three of the company’s top communications executives resigned, according to multiple media reports.
In a later post on the professional network Blind, Garg accused the fired employees of “stealing” from their colleagues and customers by being unproductive and only working two hours a day, according to Fortune, which confirmed those sentiments in a later interview with the CEO.
In a December 7 letter addressed to the Better.com team, Garg apologized for the way he handled the layoffs, and for making “a difficult situation worse.” He added, “I failed to show the appropriate amount of respect and appreciation for the individuals who were affected and for their contributions to Better,” the letter reads. “I own the decision to do the layoffs, but in communicating it I blundered the execution. In doing so, I embarrassed you.”
CNN’s Moira Ritter contributed to this report.