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Vishal Garg, Better CEO, who fired 900 over Zoom, is back

Vishal Garg is returning to his "full-time job" as CEO, according to a letter sent to employees Tuesday from the company's board. The letter noted that Garg used a leave of absence to "reflect on his leadership, reconnect with the values ​​that make Better great, and work closely with an executive coach."

The online mortgage company's letter to employees, which was obtained by CNN Business, also said that an outside law firm reviewed Better's workplace culture and implements changes, including adding more executives and an HR manager.

In December 2021, Garg held a video call in which he fired 9% of Better's workforce. "If you're on this call, you're part of the unfortunate group that gets fired," Garg said. "Your employment here has been terminated with immediate effect."

The CEO had promised a follow-up email from HR - but an affected employee told CNN Business that he immediately lost access to his company's computer, phone, email and messages including Slack channels.

Garg took leave shortly after the call. At the time, Better said it hired a third-party firm to conduct a "leadership and culture assessment," whose recommendations "will be considered to build a long-term sustainable and positive culture at Better."

'Anxiety, distraction and embarrassment'

In his own letter to staff on Tuesday, Garg wrote that "I understand how hard the last few weeks have been. I am deeply saddened by the anxiety, distraction and embarrassment my actions have caused. I have spent a lot of time thinking about "where we are as a company and the type of leadership that Better needs ... and the leader I want to be."

It's a tonal deviation from a post he wrote a few weeks ago on the professional network Blind, in which he accused the fired employees of "stealing" from their colleagues and customers by being unproductive and only working two hours a day according to Fortune. , who confirmed these feelings in a later interview with the CEO.

Garg had previously apologized for how he handled the layoffs, however, in a letter Dec. 7 to employees, in which he said he "a difficult situation worse."

He added: "I failed to show the appropriate amount of respect and appreciation for the people affected and for their contribution to Better. I own the decision to make dismissals, but by communicating it I failed the execution. I did you flov. "

Better.com is valued at $ 6.9 billion, giving it so-called unicorn status. The company ranked No. 1 on LinkedIn's Top Startups list in 2021 and 2020. The Softbank-backed mortgage lender has sought to be listed, though it has delayed those plans due to the fallout from Garg's handling of the layoffs, according to Bloomberg.

The board's letter Tuesday also said Raj Date and Dinesh Chopra had resigned from the board and that "although we do not comment on individuals' decisions to leave the board, Raj and Dinesh did not resign due to any disagreement with Better."

- CNN Business' Ramishah Maruf contributed to this report.

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