The exodus of executives from Better.com continues.
Ploonge learned that Sarah Pierce, who served as executive vice president of customer experience, sales and operations, and Emanuel Santa Donato, who was senior vice president of capital markets and growth, are no longer with the digital mortgage company.
The circumstances surrounding their departures at this time remain unclear. But sources familiar with the company’s internal developments say Pierce, in particular, was trying to defend the hundreds of employees who were laid off in December and that caused “a lot of tension” between her and CEO Vishal Garg and the board. Pierce would have been upset at how Garg publicly belittled employees, most of whom reported to her, after callously firing them via Zoom.
Pierce and Santa-Donato did not respond to requests for comment, nor did Better.com.
His departures follow those of three other executives. who left the company in December, following the layoffs: Patrick Lenihan, vice president of communications for the company; Tanya Gillogley, head of public relations; and Melanie Hahn, head of marketing. Pierce has been with Better.com since August 2016, when she started out as a “growth associate.” Santa-Donato joined the company in January 2016 as a “capital market associate”.
On LinkedIn, Pierce addressed his departure, writing:
Throughout my time, I was always asked “what keeps you at Better?” From my first day to my last, my answer has never changed: people. For 6 years, I worked with some of the smartest, most hardworking people I’ve ever met.
To my colleagues at Better, I will miss you. And to the people who left Better – it was so inspiring to see the unbelievable steps you are taking in your careers and the amazing companies you are joining.
His departures also follow the recent resignations of two board members, Raj Date and Dinesh Chropra, according to an internal email obtained by Ploonge that went out Jan. commenting on individual determinations to leave the board, Raj and Dinish did not resign because of any disagreement with Better. We are very grateful to Raj and Dinesh for all of their significant contributions to the Better Board.”
Earlier this week, we reported that employees were allegedly leaving the company in “masses”” after Garg returned to his role as CEO after a month-long hiatus.
The loss of Pierce as a top executive could further damage the morale of the remaining workers, with one current employee, who wished to remain anonymous, noting that Pierce was generally well regarded at Better.com.
This employee said: “Sarah has been one of Better’s most, if not the most, loved employees of the past six years. She is solely responsible for most of our growth and success.”
The departures come after several reports that Garg led the company he co-founded in 2014 with a “fear culture.”
Employees anonymously shared gruesome details with Ploonge, such as Garg spewing violent threats at workers, saying things like “attacking” people or “choking throats”, although it is not known that he actually physically hurt anyone.
The fact that Garg remained CEO of the company after all the negative publicity and multiple lawsuits against him left some of us scratching our heads. Certainly, the company lost business as a result of the blow to its reputation, and it will be interesting to see if in fact it still goes public as planned or if it will crash and burn.
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