Three of Better.com’s top executives have reportedly resigned from the company after the unicorn mortgage lender was hit by a wave of backlash over the leaked Zoom call, where CEO Vishal Garg callously laid off around 900 employees.
Better.com head of marketing Melanie Hahn, head of public relations Tanya Hayre Gillogley and vice-president of communications Patrick Lenihan have all resigned, Insider reported.
In a message from the founder and CEO, Garg issued an apology on the company’s blog. The chief executive wrote, “I want to apologize for the way I handled the layoffs last week.” He continued, “I failed to show the appropriate amount of respect and appreciation for the individuals who were affected and for their contributions to Better. I own the decision to do the layoffs, but in communicating it, I blundered the execution. In doing so, I embarrassed you.”
The CEO went on to say that he is “deeply sorry” and “committed to learning from this situation and doing more to be the leader” they expect him to be.
Garg, after receiving a $750 million cash infusion with a valuation of around $7 billion, bluntly informed his 900 employees that a large number of people will be fired in a cold, awkward one-way video announcement on Thursday.
Looking visibly uncomfortable, Garg said that 15% of the workforce would be laid off. In a monotone voice, he said, “This is the second time in my career I’m doing this and I do not want to do this. The last time I did it, I cried; this time, I hope to be stronger.”
Fortune magazine reported that the embattled CEO accused “at least 250″ terminated staffers of stealing from the company and customers by working just two hours a day. Not long after Garg announced the layoffs, he addressed the company in a live-streamed town hall. Garg laid out a vision of what he called “Better 2.0,” with a “leaner, meaner, hungrier workforce,” according to a leaked recording of the meeting shared with Insider.
An email to employees from Garg was also leaked, stating, “HELLO—WAKE UP BETTER TEAM. You are TOO DAMN SLOW. You are a bunch of DUMB DOLPHINS and…DUMB DOLPHINS get caught in nets and eaten by sharks. SO STOP IT. STOP IT. STOP IT RIGHT NOW. YOU ARE EMBARRASSING ME.”
Despite having referred to his staff as “dumb dolphins,” the CEO told his employees in the apology memo, “At Better, your dedication, focus and expertise are essential in the vital work we are doing to unlock the value, joy and opportunity of homeownership for our customers across the country. I couldn’t be more grateful for all you are accomplishing for the customers we serve.”