iNDICA NEWS BUREAU –
Indian American founder and CEO of a mortgage company Better.com has caused ripples after the video of his three-minute zoom call on December 1 went viral.
Vishal Garg, the 43-year-old founder and CEO of Better.com in the video call was seen firing 900 employees at one go. “If you’re on this call, you are part of the unlucky group that is being laid off,” Garg said on the call, reports CNN. “Your employment here is terminated effective immediately.”
The call was leaked on the internet by one of the employees. Those fired include the firm’s entire diversity, equity and inclusion recruiting team. Many have termed the move heartless, but in the video, Garg says, “This is the second time in my career I’m doing this and I do not, do not, want to do this. The last time I did it, I cried. This time, I hope to be stronger. We are laying off about 15% of the company for a number of reasons — the market, efficiency and performances and productivity.” Though he said 15%, the actual number is 9% according to TechCrunch.
This move is being criticized particularly because according to reports, the $7 billion startup has just been pledged $750 million cash infusion. The company employs 835 people in Charlotte, N.C., 587 in Orange County, California and 546 in the San Francisco Bay Area, according to The Sacramento Bee. There are also some employees in New York City, Texas and India.
The Zoom call was not the end of it. Fortune reports that Garg told the remaining employees in a follow-up call that he would be scrutinizing their productivity. Two of those employees said that he had used the word “bloodbath” to describe the coming year.
Garg made news earlier this year when he, in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, donated around $2 million to help New York City public school students cope with online learning. This amount was used to buy Chromebooks, ipads, wi-fi hotspots, books and uniforms for children from low-income backgrounds. However, his behavior with employees did cause controversy in the recent past. In November 2020, Forbes reported he had sent an email to employees that read “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.”
The man is an alumnus of New York University’s Stern School of Business. He co-founded Better.com with his wife in 2013, after they found it hard to get a mortgage to buy a home.
[Photo courtesy: Linkedin]