Vishal Garg, who fired 900 people at the same time in a Zoom meeting has returned as chief executive of Better.com.

He had taken a ‘break’ from his CEO duties after his handling of the mass sackings, after a mass of angry messages on social media from customers and staff.

The board said Mr Garg had been using the time to reconnect with values that ‘make Better great’, work with an executive coach and reflect on his leadership.

The incident led to senior members of the communications team stepping down, a reputational beating and finally a letter of apology to employees from Mr Garg, which said: 

“I failed to show the appropriate amount of respect and appreciation for the individuals who were affected and for their contributions to Better. I own the decision to do the layoffs, but in communicating it I blundered the execution. In doing so, I embarrassed you.”

 

Return to work

In a memo to staff this week, the board said Mr Garg would return to the helm: “”We are confident in Vishal 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.”

TechCrunch reports that Better had to hire a crisis firm to deal with the aftermath and the memo to staff said it will be “implementing a company-wide training program on ensuring a respectful workplace”.

History of the firing

A week before the firings, Better secured  $750m (£565m) in investment and Better’s CFO Kevin Ryan told employees the company would have $1 billion (£752m) on its books. 

He said:  “With this new structure the company will fortify our balance sheet and position us as extremely well capitalized in a tough mortgage market. Surviving is winning and capital ensures survival”

On a blog on the Better site in June – before that cash injection – CEO, Vishal Garg talked about the company’s $254m (£191m) in funding from investors. 

He said the firm had increased its investor base and tripled the team, outgrowing two offices in the notoriously expensive borough of Manhattan in New York. 

Mr Garg also said: “We’re only continuing to add talented, passionate people who believe in our mission. All the while we’ve helped tens of thousands of people purchase or refinance their homes. And we’re just getting started.”

This was part of the reason people were enraged after the Zoom call. However, many on twitter also pointed to Mr Garg’s manner in relaying the news. 

He told employees they were in an “unlucky” group that was “being laid off”: “I wish the news were different. I wish we were thriving”