Better.com execs resign after controversial mass zoom layoff

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Three of Better.com’s top executives have reportedly resigned from the company after the online mortgage lender was hit by a wave of backlash over a leaked Zoom call in which the CEO callously laid off some 900 employees.

The company’s head of marketing Melanie Hahn, head of public relations Tanya Hayre Gillogley and vice president of communications Patrick Lenihan have all resigned, Insider reported Tuesday.

The high-level departures are directly related to CEO Vishal Garg’s handling of recent layoffs at the company and his reportedly divisive management style, Insider reported.

“Anyone who is leaving right now, these are folks that have tried to make it work, and given their all to a company they believe in, but who ultimately get undermined by a CEO that doesn’t take advice from anyone and believes he’s always right,” a source familiar with Garg told Insider.

Tanya Hayre Gillogley, head of public relations for Better.com, has resigned following backlash over CEO Vishal Garg’s mass layoffs over Zoom.
Twitter / Tanya Hayre Gillogley

Better.com and the three former execs didn’t immediately return The Post’s request for comment.

The development comes after Garg laid off some 900 employees on a Zoom call — then slammed hundreds of the ex-workers for allegedly “stealing from our customers” by not being productive.

Garg struck an unapologetic tone when announcing the mass firings to affected workers on the now-viral call, a recording of which was later posted on TikTok, YouTube and other social media accounts.

Patrick Lenihan, VP of communications
Patrick Lenihan, VP of communications, was one of the company’s three most trusted communications advisers who resigned. A source said CEO Vishal Garg refused to listen to anyone’s advice.
LinkedIn / Patrick Lenihan

“This isn’t news that you’re going to want to hear … If you’re on this call, you are part of the unlucky group that is being laid off. Your employment here is terminated effective immediately,” he said, adding that he does “not want to do this.”

“This is the second time in my career I’m doing this and I do not want to do this. The last time I did it, I cried,” Garg said on the call.

The 43-year-old said that the “market has changed” and that the company had to slim down to remain nimble enough to adapt to the evolving housing market, which appears to be cooling after a pandemic-boosted boom — though Garg didn’t mention on the call the company’s $750 million cash infusion it got from investors last week.

Melanie Hahn, head of marketing
Melanie Hahn, head of marketing, also resigned. In addition to the drama over the layoffs, CEO Vishal Garg’s management style is reportedly a factor in her and others’ resignations.
Twitter / Better.com

Insider reported that Garg addressed the rest of the company’s employees shortly after the layoffs were announced, saying, “We should have done this three months ago.”

Better.com CEO Vishal Garg
Better.com CEO Vishal Garg confirmed he is the author of an anonymous blog post accusing some of the laid-off employees of “stealing” from the company and customers by working fewer hours than they clocked.

The CEO was later outed as the anonymous author of a scathing blog post that slammed Better.com employees on the professional network Blind.

“You guys know that at least 250 of the people terminated were working an average of 2 hours a day while clocking 8 hours+ a day in the payroll system?” the father of three wrote.

“They were stealing from you and stealing from our customers who pay the bills that pay our bills. Get educated,” he added. 

Better.com CEO Vishal Garg said he had to go through with the layoffs because “the market is changing.”
Better.com

Garg confirmed to Fortune that he was the author of the searing post.

Garg reportedly has built a reputation for having high expectations and punishing employees over tiny infractions.

Office managers were once reportedly criticized for failing to keep the mini-fridge stocked with Fiji and Perrier water, according to Forbes.

“Why do we have biscotti here like this??” he once demanded from office managers. 

In another email obtained by Forbes last year, Garg wrote: ‘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.”

At the same time, the Daily Beast reported earlier this year that one of his deputies, Elana Knoller, was given huge stock options that vested immediately, $8,000 per month for two homes and other perks.

Despite the favorable treatment, Knoller was eventually placed on administrative leave for bullying.

better.com
Better.com surged in popularity over the pandemic as people left the city in droves.
Better.com

Better.com became a pandemic darling as city dwellers sought to flee to greener and larger spaces in the suburbs, fueling a boom in the housing market and associated lenders.

The company announced in May that it plans to go public through a SPAC, or special-purpose acquisition company, at a $7.7 billion valuation.

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