Vishal Garg, the Better.com CEO that laid off 900 workers via Zoom, is back after taking a leave of absence amid the backlash.
Garg made headlines when he laid off 900 workers at one time via a Zoom call. The backlash was swift and severe, with condemnation coming from all corners of the tech and business industries. Garg tried to apologize, but was unable to satisfy critics, and ultimately took a leave of absence — but not before multiple top executives left the company in protest.
According to The Daily Beast, Garg is back.
“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,” read a letter from the company’s board to employees.
“Vishal will be resuming his full-time duties as CEO. 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.”
Needless to say, many employees are not happy with the decision, especially given Garg’s past history of toxic behavior.
“Nobody wants him back,” one current employee, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told The Daily Beast. “I know… people who planned to leave if he retained the CEO position, and I plan to be one of them now.”
Better.com’s Board Is Out-of-Touch
We wrote earlier about BlackRock CEO Larry Fink’s annual letter to CEOs, wherein he talked about the changing workplace landscape, especially as it pertains to a new focus on “racial equity, childcare, and mental health.”
Rather than decrying these changes, Fink embraced them and made it clear that only CEOs that do the same will truly succeed moving forward.
“These themes are now center stage for CEOs, who must be thoughtful about how they use their voice and connect on social issues important to their employees,” Fink wrote. “Those who show humility and stay grounded in their purpose are more likely to build the kind of bond that endures the span of someone’s career.”
The qualities Fink describes are certainly not the qualities on display with Garg’s handling of the layoffs nor, would it seem, with the board’s decision.
By so quickly welcoming Garg back with open arms, Better.com’s board shows it’s as disconnected with the company’s employees as the CEO they now express full confidence in.