The CEO of upscale furniture maker MillerKnoll was caught on video scolding employees for being in “pity city” because they would not be getting bonuses — even though she pulled down $1.2 million in bonuses last year as part of a pay package worth nearly $5 million.
Andi Owen, the CEO of Michigan-based MillerKnoll — owner of the pricey Herman Miller and Knoll brands — told staffers in the video: “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?’”
“Some of them were nice, and some of them were not so nice,” Owen said.
“I’m going to address this head on,” she continued.
“The most important thing we can do right now is focus on the things that we can control.”
Owen continued: “None of us could’ve predicted COVID, none of us could’ve predicted supply chain [problems], 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.”
Owen’s message to her team then took a dark turn.
“Don’t ask about, ‘What are we going to do if we don’t get a bonus?’ Get the damn $26 million dollars,” she 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?”
Owen’s pep talk then included an anecdote about a lecture she received from an old employer.
“I had an old boss who said, ‘You can visit pity city, but you can’t live there,’” she said.
“So, people, leave pity city! Let’s get it done.”
Predictably, reaction on Twitter was scathing.
“This is a perfect illustration of the self-delusion people like Andi Owen engage in. Watch to the end,” one angry Twitter user remarked.
“She’s a toxic mess.”
Another Twitter user wrote: “This is Andi Owen, CEO of @millerknoll who cancelled workers bonuses, took a massive bonus herself, asks everyone to stay nice, tells her workers to ‘get out of pity city’, then tells them to get out there and get her another $26 million in business.”
“We should make Andi Owen, CEO of MillerKnoll (formerly Herman Miller), trend for being a complete piece of s–t,” another Twitter user wrote.
According to the company’s most recent proxy filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Owen was paid a base salary of $1.1 million in 2022.
In addition, Owen was paid nearly $1.4 million in stock awards, $867,000 ino ptions awards, and $1.3 million in “non-equity incentive plan” compensation.
In total, Owen pulled down $4.98 million last year.
The Post has sought comment from MillerKnoll.
Shares of MillerKnoll were down by some 1.6% as of 12:30 p.m. Eastern time on Tuesday.
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