Vishal Garg, the Better.com founder, who fired roughly 900 of his workers via Zoom last month and then took â€œtime off,â€ is returning to his position as the head of his mortgage lending company.
â€œAs you know, Betterâ€™s C.E.O. 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,â€ Better.comâ€™s board said on Tuesday in an email to the staff, which was reviewed by The New York Times. â€œWe 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.â€
Better.com, which is backed by SoftBank and was ranked last year as LinkedInâ€™s top start-up, had announced last month that Mr. Garg would take time off from his leadership role after he faced a backlash over his firing of about 9 percent of his staff in a Zoom call. Several top employees resigned shortly afterward.
â€œIf youâ€™re on this call you are part of the unlucky group that is being laid off,â€ Mr. Garg told his workers, in a recording later shared widely online. â€œYour employment here is terminated effective immediately.â€
Better.com has since conducted a â€œthorough, independentâ€ review of its culture, according to the boardâ€™s memo on Tuesday. The review was led by Anthony Barkow, a partner at the law firm Jenner & Block and a former federal prosecutor.
As a result of that investigation, the company is working to expand its leadership by recruiting a new chairman for the board, a president and a chief human resources officer. In the meantime, a former McKinsey senior partner, Richard Benson-Armer, will serve as interim head of human resources, and the companyâ€™s chief financial officer, Kevin Ryan, will serve as interim president. Two members of the board also recently resigned, but not â€œbecause of any disagreement with Better,â€ according to the memo.
The company did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Some of the additional measures the company announced Tuesday include a training program on building â€œa respectful workplaceâ€ and a new ethics and compliance committee, reporting directly to the board.
Christian Chapman, an underwriting trainer who was fired last month, said he saw Mr. Gargâ€™s return to company leadership as inevitable. He added that he hoped to see the company commit to building a healthier culture.
â€œBusiness is people, product and processes,â€ Mr. Chapman said. â€œI think Vishal should develop the third leg of business, which is the people.â€