Executive exodus at Better.com claims more casualties

Three more top employees have left in recent days

Formerly from Better.com: Emanuel Santa-Donato, Sarah Pierce and Sean Baddeley; Better.com CEO Vishal Garg (Better.com, LinkedIn.com)
Formerly from Better.com: Emanuel Santa-Donato, Sarah Pierce and Sean Baddeley; Better.com CEO Vishal Garg (Better.com, LinkedIn.com)

The next time Better.com CEO Vishal Garg hops on a call with the company brain trust, there will be fewer boxes on his screen.

Three more executives have left the company in recent days, including senior director of partnerships Sean Baddeley, who posted a message on LinkedIn that his last day of work was Monday.

The company has had a rash of employees leave, both in the wake of Garg’s controversial layoffs and his return after a brief leave of absence last month.

“After 49 months, 14 partnerships, 3 offices, 2 teams, and countless memories, today is my last day at Better,” Baddeley wrote. “To my former colleagues, partners, and clients; thank you for all that you’ve taught me and the fun we had along the way. I’ll continue to cheer you on, always.”

Baddeley’s departure comes less than two weeks after TechCrunch reported the departures of Sarah Pierce, who was executive vice president of customer experience, sales and operations, and Emanual Santa-Donato, who was senior vice president of capital markets and growth. Both have since revealed their departures on LinkedIn, Inman reported.

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According to TechCrunch, Pierce was particularly bothered by Garg’s disparagement of the laid-off employees, whom he had let go in an infamous Zoom call. She attempted to stand up for those who were fired, which reportedly created tension among her, Garg and the company’s board.

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TechCrunch has reported employees are leaving the company in “droves.” Among those to depart in recent weeks: vice president of communications Patrick Lenihan, head of public relations Tanya Gillogley and marketing head Melanie Hahn. Board members Raj Date and Dinesh Chropra have also resigned.

Better.com hasn’t commented on most of the departures, but told its staff in an internal email that “Raj and Dinish did not resign because of any disagreement with Better,” according to TechCrunch.

Garg apologized after he announced the firing of more than 900 employees over Zoom in December and, in an anonymous online post, accused the laid-off workers of being unproductive. In late 2020, Forbes reported Garg had been accused of improper management of funds at past startups and had been blamed for creating a hostile work environment.

In January, Garg returned to his post as the head of the company after more than a month away. An independent review prompted a search for a new board chairman, president and chief human resources officer, as well as a training program for “a respectful workplace” and the formation of an ethics and compliance committee.

Last year, the startup’s valuation swelled to $6 billion after SoftBank made a $500 million investment. The company has plans to go public through a SPAC merger with Aurora Acquisition Corp. According to Inman, the company’s deadline for the merger has been extended to Sept. 30, 2022.

[Inman] — Holden Walter-Warner