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CEO ‘taking time off’ after firing 900 workers over Zoom

The CEO of digital mortgage firm Better.com, who gained sudden notoriety for group-firing 900 employees weeks before the holidays, is “taking time off effective immediately” while the company rethinks its leadership and culture.

Vishal Garg attained nationwide infamy for firing the employees over Zoom, accusing them of “stealing from the company” by not working hard enough.

A letter sent to employees from the company’s board of directors on Friday promised that Better.com would be bringing in an outside firm to “do a leadership and cultural assessment.”

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Boss fires 900 people via Zoom

CFO Kevin Ryan will take the CEO’s place on an interim basis, while Garg takes a break of indefinite duration, “given the very regrettable events over the last week,” the board’s letter explained. The recommendations of the third-party assessment would be “taken into account to build a long-term sustainable and positive culture at Better,” it continued, encouraging the remaining employees to “refocus on our customers and support each other to continue to build a great company and a company we can be proud of.

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Despite the backlash Garg received for laying off nearly 1000 workers in front of their mortified colleagues, he initially doubled down on his harsh approach, telling those employees who’d escaped the ax that they “would not be allowed to fail twice,” and that “not meeting deadlines will not be acceptable.

He claimed in a post to anonymous tech-focused social media forum Blind that “at least 250” of the people he fired had been clocking full workdays while only working “an average of 2 hours a day,” attempting to justify his “stealing” comment, according to Motherboard.

Ultimately, however, Garg apologized to his staff (what was left of it) on Tuesday, acknowledging he had “failed to show the appropriate amount of respect and appreciation for individuals who are affected and for their contributions to Better.” However, he made it clear that it wasn’t the mass-firing that he regretted – just the “execution” of it.

Garg is facing a number of lawsuits alleging fraudulent or otherwise improper activities, a legal trail that predates the launch of Better, which he founded in 2014. However, that has not stopped venture capital firms from investing in multiple financing rounds, driving the company’s value as high as $4 billion.

Artmotion U.S.A

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