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Better CEO is 'taking time off' after firing 900 staff on Zoom

CFO now ruling the roost as mortgage biz reportedly delays SPAC sale

Better CEO Vishal Garg, best-known for firing 900 employees over one giant Zoom call, is taking time off work while the company hires a third-party to perform a “leadership and cultural assessment.”

After video footage of the meeting was leaked, the Softbank-backed digital mortgage biz was suddenly thrust into the limelight. Garg was blasted for not only laying off nine per cent of staff in such an abrupt manner just weeks before Christmas, but for his stunning lack of empathy.

"The last time I did it, I cried," he told stunned staffers. "This time I hope to be stronger."

His previous treatment of employees was also dug up. He once called some staff “dumb dolphins” or “too damn slow” and “embarrassing.” He urged people to not take Indigenous Peoples' Day off because time should be spent working towards “capital, and therefore our freedom.”

As the company scrambles to perform damage control over its CEO’s poor behavior, the board of directors emailed the employees on Friday: “Good morning. Vishal and the Board wanted to provide Better employees an update given the very regrettable events over the last week."

"Vishal will be taking time off effective immediately,” Motherboard first reported.

Better’s CFO Kevin Ryan has been ushered in to take over temporarily, whilst the board members try and figure out how to make the company, erm, better. “The Board has engaged an independent 3rd party firm to do a leadership and cultural assessment. The recommendations of this assessment will be taken into account to build a long-term sustainable and positive culture at Better,” the email continued.

“We have much work to do and we hope that everyone can refocus on our customers and support each other to continue to build a great company and a company we can be proud of.”

Plans to merge with Aurora Acquisition Corp via a $7.7bn special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) deal were also put on hold, according to Axios, whilst the company tries to clean up the mess leftover from the PR disaster.

SPAC sales are in increasingly common way of going public without all that embarrassing disclosure business. Fellow Softbank-backed biz WeWork imploded after filing its amazingly self-indulgent SEC form S-1 prior to a normal IPO. Having a CFO in charge of a delicate deal for Better might seem very attractive to investors.

Better did not immediately respond to The Register’s request for comment. ®

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