Better founder and CEO Vishal Garg, who went viral after firing 900 employees on a Zoom call, has reportedly returned to his post at the company after a brief leave of absence.
Garg’s return was announced in a letter to employees from Betters’ board of directors, which said he’d been “taking 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,” CNBC reported.
In the letter, the board expressed confidence in Garg and “in the changes he is committed to making to provide the type of leadership, focus, and vision that Better needs at this pivotal time,” CNBC reported.
The letter also informed employees that board members Raj Date and Dinesh Chopra had resigned, but not as a result of any disagreement with Better.
The Wall Street Journal reported that Better plans to expand its leadership by hiring a new board chair, president, and a chief human resources officer.
In December, Garg achieved viral infamy for laying off 900 employees — roughly 9 percent of the company — in a single Zoom call. Several videos of the meeting were shared widely on social media.
One day later, the company announced Garg would “take a break” from his CEO duties, calling the situation “very regrettable.”
Garg later apologized for the way the firings were handled, saying he owned the decision to cut the jobs but handled its execution poorly.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Garg apologized to employees again this week in a separate letter saying he is sorry for the embarrassment and distraction he brought to the company.
“As many know, I am direct in my communications but too often, I have not chosen my words carefully enough,” Garg wrote. “I have expressed my feelings in the heat of the moment, without enough care for the effect they may have on colleagues. I am committed to being more thoughtful and communicating more effectively going forward.”
The New York-based, SoftBank-backed company is in the midst of a deal to go public via a merger with a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC), Aurora Acquisition Corp. The deal, first announced in May, was expected to close last year. But Better says closing of the merger has been delayed by revisions to the deal terms announced Nov. 30, the day before Garg’s Zoom call.
Inman has reached out to Better for comment.
Although best known as a mortgage lender, Better’s vertically-integrated business structure allows it to provide end-to-end services in many markets, including real estate brokerage and title insurance. Better Holdco Inc.’s operating subsidiaries are Better Mortgage Corp., Better Real Estate LLC, Better Settlement Services LLC, and Better Cover LLC.