MillerKnoll President and CEO Andi Owen is under fire for comments she made during a virtual meeting last week that leaked online, telling employees to “leave pity city” after workers wondered if they were getting bonuses.
Andi Owen made just shy of $5 million last year, with $1.2 million in bonuses. Nevertheless, she seemed irate at the notion that employees lacked motivation because of a lack of a potential lack of incentives. Her company, MillerKnoll, is best known for producing office furniture, which has taken a hit during the pandemic.
The company recently also closed a plant in Wisconsin, laying off 162 employees.
“Questions came through about, ‘How can we stay motivated if we’re not going to get a bonus … What can we do? What can we do?’” Owen said in a now-viral clip of what appears to be an internal meeting. “Some of them were nice, and some of them were not so nice.”
It is not clear who leaked the clip. One version, with Miller’s face occasionally blurred, was posted on TikTok on March 31.
“The most important thing we can do right now is focus on the things that we can control. None of us could’ve predicted COVID, none of us could’ve predicted supply chain, none of us could’ve predicted bank failures. But what we can do, is stay in front of our customers, provide the best customer service we can, get our orders out our door, treat each other well, be kind, be respectful, focus on the future, because it will be bright,” she said.
Owen got extremely agigtated when she demanded employees meet what appears to be some sort of sales goal.
“Don’t ask about, ‘What are we going to do if we don’t get a bonus?’ Get the damn $26 million dollars,” Owen said. “Spend your time and your effort thinking about the $26 million dollars we need and not thinking about what you’re going to do if you don’t get a bonus. Alright? Can I get some commitment for that?”
“I had an old boss who said to me one time, ‘You can visit pity city, but you can’t live there.’ So people, leave pity city. Let’s get it done,” she concluded, before adding “have a great day.”
The clip of Owen speaking to employees was posted to Reddit and Twitter, and users quickly took umbrage with Owen’s requests.
“guys i know you’re struggling to feed your families but literally just leave pity city come on,” one Redditor said under a post on r/antiwork about the video.
“Such a wonderfully entitled woman. I am fascinated by the degree of being tone deaf,” another Redditor said.
MillerKnoll did not respond to a request for comment from the Daily Dot.