CEO responsible for mass layoffs via Zoom call ‘will be taking time off,’ board confirms

A tech startup chief made headlines earlier this month when he announced hundreds of layoffs during a teleconference meeting.

Now, reports indicate Better.com CEO Vishal Garg will be getting some unplanned time off, as well.

“Part of the unlucky group”

The company provides prospective home buyers with competitive mortgage rates. In his ill-fated Zoom call, Garg blamed the housing market in part for the decision to fire about 900 workers.

“If you’re on this call, you are part of the unlucky group that is being laid off,” he said in a meeting on Dec. 2 that has since gone viral on social media, according to Vice. “Your employment here is terminated effective immediately.”

Garg went on to tell those workers that he regretted being forced to make the cuts, expressing hope that he would not break down into tears over the prospect of letting so many employees go.

Noting that he wished the company “was thriving as enthusiastically as we were at the beginning of this year,” Garg acknowledged that it was not.

In an email sent out this week, it was clear that the company’s board of directors wanted to distance itself from “the very regrettable events” surrounding the widespread layoffs.

“Sustainable and positive culture”

“Vishal will be taking time off effective immediately,” the statement confirmed, according to Vice. “During this interim period Kevin Ryan as CFO will be managing the day-to-day decisions of the company and he will be reporting to the Board.”

Furthermore, board members explained that they hired an “independent” firm to perform a review of the “leadership and cultural” aspects of the company.

Such assessment, the email explained, will hopefully lead to “a long-term sustainable and positive culture at Better.”

The board concluded by noting that the remaining employees have “much work to do,” expressing a desire for everyone involved to “refocus on our customers and support each other to continue to build a great company and a company we can be proud of.”

It is worth noting that subsequent reports have confirmed that Garg has been an active political donor, having made considerable contributions to Democratic committees and campaigns. Among the recipients of his previous donations were the campaigns of Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Vice President Kamala Harris.

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