Employee speaks out after millionaire boss tells staff to ‘leave pity city’ over fears of cancelled bonuses
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Featured Image Credit: YouTube/ Darren Debski
A MillerKnoll employee has spoken out after viral footage showed the company's CEO telling staff to 'leave pity city' after they shared fears about their bonuses.
Andi Owen, CEO of the global furniture manufacturer, found herself in the firing line when the video taken from the staff Zoom call was shared online this week.
She could be seen in the clip responding to concerned staff asking about their bonuses as the company faced a tough time, and initially seemed level headed and professional in the video.
Owen told staff: "It's not good to be in the situation we're in today. But we're not going to be here forever. It is going to get better. So lead - lead by example, treat people well, talk to them, be kind and get after it."
Unfortunately, the CEO only appeared to get increasingly frustrated from there as staff sought to get answers, telling them to focus on getting 'the damn $26 million' rather than asking about their bonuses.
"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. Thank you. Have a great day," she said.
In the wake of the viral video, one employee from the company told The Sentinel staff were threatened with being fired if they spoke to media about the clip.
Speaking under the condition of anonymity, they claimed: "We have a meeting at the beginning of every shift. Last night the comments were brought up in the meeting and they said if anybody spoke out it wouldn't be good for them and they could be terminated."
A spokesperson for MillerKnoll, Kris Marubio, responded to the employee's claims to say they weren't true, saying: "The first thing I would say is nobody has been directed to do that. It's not a company policy, it's not something that we're doing. So, that's wrong and false."
The employee went on to describe corporate structure 'as a whole' as being 'parasitic', saying: "The rich always get richer and the poor always get more poor. They have a $1.1 million salary and getting a 355 percent bonus. Yet [Owen is] denying us the sliver we get ... maybe 5 percent max on a $45,000 salary.
"I get that CEOs get astronomical bonuses but when/where does it stop?"
Marubio has argued that the clip that went viral lacked context, claiming the meeting lasted 75 minutes in total and that 'a lot of positive things' were said during that time.
"And on it's own it's misleading. It doesn't represent the full 75 minutes," she said.
The spokesperson told The Sentinel staff bonuses for this year have not been determined because the fiscal year doesn't end until May.
Marubio also assured the CEO's bonus hasn't yet been determined.
"We all follow the same bonus determination. It happens after financial results are reported for the full year," she said.
Owen reportedly issued an apology to staff after the meeting, saying in part: "I feel terrible that my rallying cry seemed insensitive. What I’d hoped would energize the team to meet a challenge we’ve met many times before landed in a way that I did not intend and for that I am sorry."
UNILAD has contacted MillerKnoll for comment.