Vishal Garg who heads digital fintech company Better.com has 'taken time off' even as the company has hired an outsider to conduct a "leadership and cultural" assessment of the company, Better.com said in an email to employees on Friday. The move comes after massive criticism following a viral video which showed Garg firing 900 staff from the company.
He later alleged that 250 members of the staff who were laid off "stole" time and money from clients and only 2 hours a day while clocking in 8. The CEO had cited the market, performance and productivity as reasons behind the decision to lay off employees in the United States and India.
"Vishal will be taking time off effective immediately. During this interim period Kevin Ryan as CFO will be managing the day-to-day decisions of the company and he will be reporting to the Board," the email reads as quoted by Vice.com.
Vice also reported that three top Better employees resigned from the company after the layoffs, and Garg apologized to staff, saying he "failed to show the appropriate amount of respect and appreciation for individuals who are affected and for their contributions to Better" and admitted to "blundering" the execution of the layoffs.
The company had been listed as LinkedIn's top US startup for two years running and was due to go public through a merger with special purpose acquisition company, or SPAC, after receiving a cash infusion of $750 million from Aurora Acquisition Corp. and SoftBank. However, this has been delayed due to the overwhelmingly negative publicity the company received following the viral video.
Garg has also been reported as having a history of making controversial comments, including rude remarks about investors as well as employees.