The US boss who sparked outrage after sacking 900 staff in an online Zoom meeting has returned as the company’s chief executive.
Vishal Garg took a “break” from his duties at mortgage start-up Better.com in December, after his handling of the affair drew widespread criticism.
At the time, Mr Garg apologised for his insensitive delivery but maintained the job cuts were necessary.
Better’s board said it had confidence in Mr Garg, who founded the start-up.
“As you know, Better’s CEO Vishal Garg has 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,” Better.com’s board said in an email to staff on Tuesday.
“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.”
Mr Garg faced heavy criticism in December after he fired 900 staff – about 15% of his workforce – via Zoom.
“If you’re on this call you’re part of the unlucky group being laid off,” Mr Garg told staff. “Your employment here is terminated. Effective immediately.”
A recording of the call was shared on social media, prompting comments that sacking people this way was “cold”, “harsh” and “a horrible move”, especially in the run up to Christmas.
He swiftly apologised. Though the sackings were necessary, Mr Garg said, he accepted he had “blundered the execution” and “embarrassed” staff.
“I failed to show the appropriate amount of respect and appreciation for the individuals who were affected,” he said in a letter on the firm’s website.
“I am deeply sorry and am committed to learning from this situation and doing more to be the leader that you expect me to be,” he said.
A few day’s later, the board said Mr Garg was “taking time off” after the “regrettable events”.
Mr Garg’s management style had been criticised before, after the magazine Forbes obtained an email that he sent to staff last year.
In it Mr Garg wrote: “You are TOO DAMN SLOW. You are a bunch of DUMB DOLPHINS… SO STOP IT. STOP IT. STOP IT RIGHT NOW. YOU ARE EMBARRASSING ME.”
In the letter to staff on Tuesday, Better’s board said it was adding three new leadership positions, including the role of president, a new chairman of the board and a new head of human resources.
It said the firm planned workplace training to ensure a respectful work environment and would conduct a review of company culture in six months.
New York-based Better.com, which aims to use technology to make the house-buying process easier, confirmed last year that it planned to float the company on the stock market.
A deal could value the business – which Mr Garg founded in 2015 – at between $6.9bn (£5.2bn) and $7.7bn.(BBC)
•PHOTO: Vishal Garg