Better.com CEO Vishal Garg Steps Back As Employees Detail How He ‘Led By Fear’

Better.com CEO Vishal Garg is "taking time off" after he made the controversial decision to fire 900 workers via a Zoom call last week. While he said he is "deeply sorry" for the way the lay-offs were handled, multiple current and former employees view this as insincere damage control and a byproduct of the company's toxic work culture. An anonymous reader shares an excerpt from a TechCrunch article: This morning, employees were notified via email by the Better board of directors that Garg would be taking time off effective immediately after the "very regrettable events over the last week." The move came, according to an employee who wished not to be named, after the digital mortgage company hired a crisis firm earlier this week. For those of us following the drama over the past week -- over the past year, really -- it was not a surprise. More details around the executive's behavior have emerged, including in emails that surfaced this week in which Garg berated his own investors, Vice reported. He already had a reputation for using abusive language in emails to employees, but the treatment toward his investors was yet another shock. In the email to employees sent this morning, the board said that during the interim period, CFO Kevin Ryan would be assuming the responsibilities of CEO. It also acknowledged that it had engaged "an independent 3rd party firm to do a leadership and cultural assessment," the results of which would be "taken into account to build a long-term sustainable and positive culture at Better." But the decision may be too little, too late. TechCrunch has spoken with multiple current and former employees who remain skeptical that a toxic culture can be reversed that quickly. Those same employees shared that the CEO's so-called "apology" -- which came after the resignations of the company's heads of PR, marketing and communications -- was widely viewed as insincere damage control. One employee said she had been thinking of resigning even before the recent events, but they finally pushed her over the edge. Garg "leads by fear," said one employee who preferred not to be named. "Nothing is ever good enough. He would threaten employees to work harder, faster and not be lazy, but there was never clarity on what the consequences might be."

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