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

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. …

  1. Neil Barnes Silver badge
    WTF?

    Being a better workplace?

    "With due regard to shareholder value, I sacked them all. Empathy would not have emphasised that value, so was not applied."

    Perhaps the time has come to make it possible to be in a senior company position *without* being an utter dick?

    1. HildyJ Silver badge
      FAIL

      Re: Being a better workplace?

      Nonsense. The 3rd party report will be all PR, the situation will become forgotten old news, Garg will come back from his sabbatical, and the SPAC will go forward.

      Same as it always is.

      1. NoneSuch Silver badge
        FAIL

        Re: Being a better workplace?

        “The Board has engaged an independent 3rd party firm to do a leadership and cultural assessment. "

        Corp-speak for "Standby while we're looking for someone junior to blame."

    2. Mike 137 Silver badge

      Re: Being a better workplace?

      "Perhaps the time has come to make it possible to be in a senior company position *without* being an utter dick?"

      Unfortunately, because the bottom line is grasping all you can, only the utterly ruthless with the hides of rhinos rise to such positions, but there are lots of them so all the positions get filled. It's commonly said that power corrupts, but realistically they need the power before they can show how corrupt they've always been.

      1. SundogUK Silver badge

        Re: Being a better workplace?

        This has not been true at every company I have ever worked at. You have obviously made shitty choices about who you work for.

        1. David Austin

          Re: Being a better workplace?

          They already said the CFO is taking over for the time being - you don't need to show you have what it takes to get to the C-Suite of Better.

  2. wsm

    Better?

    Everybody can do better than Better. But I was looking for some mention that the firing was reversed until it could be evaluated along with the management culture.

    That would not only be better, but the Best!

    1. Trigun

      Re: Better?

      The merger / sale is probably what prompted the "firings" as when you have two companies merge in some way there ends up being some cases of two people for the same position. Where you have that doubling up you have to let one of those people go. Been on the end of this myself once and as d*ckish as the company I worked for was in some ways, they weren't anywhere as much as Garg has been.

      At least I think that is what may be happening here. If true then they wouldn't reverse getting rid of people.

      1. Youngone Silver badge

        Re: Better?

        I was laid off when the drooling idiots who ran the company messed up the integration of a company they had bought.

        One of said idiots made the mistake of turning up to one of the branches to make the announcement in person, and he was so rude that several hot-heads decided they would beat the living snot out of him in retribution. Cooler heads restrained them, so no blood was spilt unfortunately.

        That put the wind up the company so badly that they fired the rest of us by email.

        I paid a lawyer $400 to write a threatening letter and wound up getting nearly $10,000 worth of training for free in return for promising not to drag them through the employment courts.

        The moral of the story? Don't live in America.

  3. C.Carr

    Hopefully his time off makes him feel better, poor fella. That must have been hard on him.

    1. zuckzuckgo Bronze badge

      Ex employees could start a gofundckme page to raise money to send him off to a "better" place.

  4. Howard Sway Silver badge

    engaged an independent 3rd party firm to do a leadership and cultural assessment

    Sorry folks, if you don't know what it takes at the beginning to not be an arse, you don't have the right stuff to lead a decent company.

    You can't just buy it in from a consultancy, and it looks even worse doing that after a public self-created implosion : it's too late.

    I don't feel any pity for Mr Dumb Dolphins. He could have chosen not to be arrogant and obnoxious. But he let his ego swell up so much he ruined it all.

    1. The Man Who Fell To Earth Silver badge
      FAIL

      Re: engaged an independent 3rd party firm to do a leadership and cultural assessment

      Well, if even half of his wikipedia article is close to correct, the guys a real long-standing piece of shit work.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vishal_Garg_(businessman)

    2. Snake Silver badge

      Re: engaged an independent 3rd party firm to do a leadership and cultural assessment

      Look, this will probably go over like a lorry-full of manure dumped on your front door, but, well, Mr. Garg is an Indian national. If you go on to YouTube and watch Joshua Fluke's channel, you will find Indian bosses are completely used to treating their workers like slave laborers

      https://youtu.be/azkgIOA3y88

      https://youtu.be/Qba57EgF5GA

      https://youtu.be/Bbc4RzTTLec

      https://youtu.be/8FenVVKjOrQ

      https://youtu.be/1aUdQm5ZGto

      Lol, we can keep going with that meme :D

      Indians have posted replies that since there are so many applicants in the huge population, versus job openings, bosses learn that they have the upper hand and can make workers slaves to get ANY type of job.

      They then bring that attitude over to wherever they go.

      You are here to make THEM money. You? You don't matter, only I, the boss and my business, matters.

      1. Dark Eagle

        Re: engaged an independent 3rd party firm to do a leadership and cultural assessment

        As an Indian, I can totally confirm this. People are just treated like the parts of a machine, easily switchable.

      2. ICL1900-G3 Bronze badge

        Re: engaged an independent 3rd party firm to do a leadership and cultural assessment

        Indeed so. My 'business partner' (puke!) at a well-known charge card company was from the sub-continent, and a right c*nt, lacking any endearing traits. Even 30 years on, I still hate him.

  5. The Man Who Fell To Earth Silver badge
    Unhappy

    I cried when I let Garg go

    Next time, I'll try to do better.com

  6. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    Take some time off. Don't come back.

  7. sanmigueelbeer Silver badge
    Coat

    "The last time I did it, I cried. This time I hope to be stronger."

    This firing, he did not cry because his end-of-the-year bonus he received for cutting a large amount of "cost". He's probably taking the time off in Europe in his private jet.

  8. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

    Crass Act

    Firing a large portion of your workforce in such a crass manner is bound to get out as someone would have 1) possibly recorded the whole incident, 2) leaked the details to various places hoping it goes viral; really nasty if there is a video to back it up. The only hope for him is it does not go viral but the numbers work against this; too many who could confirm the story. Also, once the people sniff out the story the Streisand Effect will take over.

    As others have noted, His Crassness apparently had done similar crass actions in the past and basically got away with it. If it sinks the SPAC, I will not shed a tear for His Crassness.

    1. Snake Silver badge

      Re: Crass Act

      Oh, new update about Better from Joshua Fluke

      https://youtu.be/HmMtDPF-Rb8

      Relish in the corporate nepotism and corruption.

    2. Jonathon Green
      Trollface

      Re: Crass Act

      Quite brave in a country with high levels of gun ownership and poor access to mental health provision… :-)

  9. ecofeco Silver badge

    Well he deservers it!

    The unspeakable and unbearable burden of being rich and powerful would weigh heavy on anyone! (so, so heavy) He deserves the time off to recharge his spirit animal!

    A snake, I think it was.

    1. JWLong

      Re: Well he deservers it!

      Well he deservers it!

      The unspeakable and unbearable burden of being rich and powerful would weigh heavy on anyone! (so, so heavy) He deserves the time off to recharge his spirit animal!

      A snake, I think it was.

      More like a parasite!

    2. Dark Eagle

      Re: Well he deservers it!

      Please don't insult snakes like that. In all the business deals I have with those reptiles, they've been classy. Nothing like this guy.

      1. ecofeco Silver badge

        Re: Well he deservers it!

        Good point.

  10. W.S.Gosset Silver badge

    'taking time off'

    ... demonstrating that the CEO is genuinely redundant.

  11. Eclectic Man Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Making people redundant

    In the event that a (your) company has to make staff redundant, they should consider how they want the soon to be ex staff to react and think of the company in the future. How would you prefer your company to be regarded?

    A former employee who says "It was sad, but due to circumstances beyond anyone's control, they just had to let some of us go and I got the short straw. They are actually really good people, and I recommend them."

    compared to

    "What an utter bunch of heartless f£$%^&(*ts! I hate the lot of them. Not only did they make us all redundant without having the decency to speak to each of us in person, they broadcast it on Zoom, and the CEO had the gall to say that the last time he did this he cried but HE hoped to be stronger this time. And just two weeks before Christmas."

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Making people redundant

      And think of how motivated they'll be when they get taken on my a competitor.

    2. My-Handle Silver badge

      Re: Making people redundant

      I worked for a company like this. Everyone on the floor was hired either on a weekly contract, or on a 6-month rolling contract. Despite some people working there for nearly 5 years, they refused to commit to permanent contracts.

      They laid an entire team off just before Christmas. Due to the nature of the team's contracts, the company were only required to give them a week's notice. That notice was given on a Thursday, exactly eight days before the company's Christmas party. To a team of highly competent people who'd given years of their life to the company.

      They were not allowed in to the party.

    3. uccsoundman

      Re: Making people redundant

      > How would you prefer your company to be regarded?

      Well it depends. A lot of Wall Street types and Boards of Directors PREFER heartless SOB CEO's. In the Al (Chainsaw) Dunlap school of management (we worshiped him when we were in business school), being a sadistic ass is a sure way to greater profitability. Reputation means NOTHING. However, I wonder how long it will be before said employees make it their life mission to punish these sadistic people.?

  12. Inventor of the Marmite Laser Silver badge

    Nice that he's so lightly loaded he can take time off.

  13. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

    ...while the company hires a third-party to perform a “leadership and cultural assessment.”

    Somehow I doubt he'll go as far as Travis Kalanick did with Uber to distance himself from the business

  14. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

    Et tu Uber

    May be he was only following Uber.

    Back in May 2020...

    https://www.forbes.com/sites/jackkelly/2020/05/13/uber-lays-off-3500-employees-over-a-zoom-call-the-way-in-which-a-company-downsizes-its-staff-says-a-lot-about-the-organization/?sh=5fb1f43b7251

    This week, Uber announced that it will layoff 3,500 employees, representing 14% of its workforce. In a sign of the times, with employees working from home, Uber informed the job-loss casualties via an online Zoom call.

    and Better culls 15% of the workforce.

  15. Paul Hovnanian Silver badge

    Acting CEO ...

    ... should just have the facilities people come in and sheet rock over Garg's office door. Paint and trim to match the rest of the hallway. Nothing but a blank wall. Say nothing but catch his reaction on video when he comes back.

  16. Winkypop Silver badge
    Angel

    You’ve been Gargled

    Then spat out

    Sorry

    —> Ring of no confidence

  17. fpx
    Angel

    Mission accomplished!

    Giving this guy some paid time off and paying a PR company to mop up the mess is still cheaper than treating employees humanely in the first place.

    His services will be in future demand wherever the C-levels decide that heads must roll to increase shareholder value. I.e., all across the US.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    All that needs to be said about this twist to the story...

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=igCrZ23QJ0Q

  19. Dave 15 Silver badge

    Reaction

    Well the only reaction any of those employees left should have is to get their cvs out in the market place. The net result of the behaviour of the company will to lose its best staff (they will be the first to secure new jobs), hopefully this will cause the company to implode and collapse as it justly deserves. Frankly any company that does that to their staff deserves to sink. Any CEO that kills a company through such behaviour will almost certainly secure a job from his mates but he doesnt deserve to.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Softbank-backed

    so, there was this phone call with an offer of a one-off damage limitation package, completely free of charge. Or else. Hence the “leadership and cultural assessment.”

    p.s. my eyes get moist for the eagle-eyed Softbank... But, regardless of their real motives (are there any motives past 'profit'?), I do hope, in the spirit of Christmas schadenfreunde, that the man gets to join those 900.

  21. Potemkine! Silver badge

    To sum it up, Mr. Dumb Dolphin will rest in a sunny beach somewhere while the PR BS team will try to make everything forgotten to stop the impact on the company results. Because it's all that matters. Everything else is a lie.

  22. Marty McFly Silver badge
    FAIL

    To summarize...

    The CEO is taking some time off during the holidays. And expect to receive a survey about the company.

    End of message.

  23. Steve Aubrey
    Thumb Down

    Worse, but not as big

    I heard about a company that, when time for redundancies, created a fire drill to get everybody out of the building and into the parking lot. Then the employees were separated into the sheep and the goats, and the goats were escorted back in one at a time to clear out their desks. I imagine those staying didn't have warm feelings of confidence in management after that.

  24. ZekeStone

    Better or worse?

    What the hell is Better? What do they do? Online mortgage broker? Pffft. They're apparently useless for that:

    https://www.bbb.org/us/ny/new-york/profile/mortgage-broker/bettercom-0121-165686/complaints

    Though it's ironic that people are complaining to them to the BBB... another useless organization.

    They should change their name to Worse... to match reality.

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