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Better.com founder reportedly returns to CEO duties after mass Zoom layoff

The founder of the digital mortgage lender stepped away from his leadership role after firing about 900 employees over Zoom​ in December.

Steven Musil Night Editor / News
Steven Musil is the night news editor at CNET News. He's been hooked on tech since learning BASIC in the late '70s. When not cleaning up after his daughter and son, Steven can be found pedaling around the San Francisco Bay Area. Before joining CNET in 2000, Steven spent 10 years at various Bay Area newspapers.
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Steven Musil
2 min read

Better.com CEO Vishal Garg, during the Zoom call in which he laid off about 900 employees.

Screenshot by Steven Musil/CNET

Vishal Garg, the founder of digital mortgage lender Better.com, who fired about 900 employees over Zoom last month, has reportedly returned to his position as CEO a little more than a month after announcing he was "taking time off" from the job.

"As you know, Better's CEO Vishal Garg has been taking a break from his full-time duties to reflect on his leadership, reconnect with the values that make Better great and work closely with an executive coach," Better.com's board said Tuesday in an email to the staff, according to The New York Times.

"We are confident in Vishal and in the changes he is committed to making to provide the type of leadership, focus and vision that Better needs at this pivotal time," the email said.

The announcement comes after Better.com said in December that Garg would be stepping away from his leadership role at company following a backlash over him laying off about 9% of the startup's workforce in a Zoom call just weeks before the holidays.

"If you're on this call, you are part of the unlucky group that is being laid off," Garg said during the call, a recording of which circulated on TikTok and YouTube. "Your employment here is terminated effective immediately."

Garg issued an apology a few days later in the wake of mass resignations from the company's top management, including the vice president of communications, the head of public relations and the head of marketing.

The company's board of directors also said in December it would hire an independent firm to do a "leadership and cultural assessment." As a result of that investigation, the company is working to expand its leadership by recruiting a new chairman for the board, a president and a chief human resources officer, according to Tuesday's email to employees.

Better.com had received $750 million in funding from SoftBank and Aurora Acquisition the day before the layoffs, as part of a plan to go public through a merger with a special purpose acquisition company, or SPAC. The deal is being pushed back, but the company is expected to have a $6.9 billion valuation.

Better.com didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.