Better.com CEO says he is ‘deeply sorry’ for sacking 900 staff via Zoom meeting

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The Zoom video meeting and chat app has become the wildly popular host to millions of people working and studying from home during the coronavirus outbreak. (Photo by OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP via Getty Images)

(The Hill) — The CEO of Better.com has apologized to 900 staff members he laid off via a three-minute Zoom call, saying he “blundered” and “failed to show the appropriate amount of respect and appreciation for the individuals who were affected.”

In a letter to employees, Vishal Garg said, “I own the decision to do the layoffs, but in communicating it I blundered the execution. In doing so, I embarrassed you.”

“I realize that the way I communicated this news made a difficult situation worse. I am deeply sorry and am committed to learning from this situation and doing more to be the leader that you expect me to be,” he added.

The CEO said in a Zoom call last Wednesday that the laid-off employees would receive about a month of pay and three months of benefits, according to NBC News. 

“I come to you with not great news,” Garg said as he began his call with employees.

“If you’re on this call, you are part of the unlucky group that is being laid off,” he added. “Your employment here is terminated effective immediately.”

A former employee told NBC News his company-issued computer went dark shortly after the Zoom call ended. He added that he didn’t receive a call from human resources until hours later. 

“I was sitting here thinking, ‘What the hell?'” the unidentified employee said.

Days before the mass firing, Better.com received a $750 million cash infusion ahead of the company going public.

Garg, who founded the company in 2014, suffered intense backlash last year after Forbes magazine published emails in which he berated employees for poor work effort. 

“You are TOO DAMN SLOW. You are a bunch of DUMB DOLPHINS and…DUMB DOLPHINS get caught in nets and eaten by sharks,” Garg said on the reported emails. “SO STOP IT. STOP IT. STOP IT RIGHT NOW. YOU ARE EMBARRASSING ME.”

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