CEO Who Took Home Almost $5M Last Year Tells Employees Hoping for a Bonus: ‘Leave Pity City’

The CEO of a luxury office furniture company, Andi Owen, is facing criticism following a video in which she urged her employees to “leave Pity City” after some inquired about maintaining motivation without receiving a company bonus.

MillerKnoll, Owen’s company, is renowned for its high-end products such as the Herman Miller Aeron chair. In response to the employees’ concerns, Owen responded in a 1 minute and 21-second video clip, which some social media users condemned as “unhinged”, according to CBS News. As per Vice, Owen made the remarks during a 75-minute virtual meeting with the employees.

Viewers are aware that Julie Owen was generously compensated last year. In addition to her salary of $1.1 million, she received $3.9 million in stock awards and other forms of compensation for the fiscal year ending in May 2022, as stated in MillerKnoll’s latest proxy statement.

Owen opens the video by acknowledging the concerns of employees regarding the absence of financial bonuses. She urges them to exhibit kindness and respect while dealing with the issue.

However, as the video progresses, Owen’s tone shifts. She cautions the workers to refrain from raising questions about the financial incentives and concentrate on achieving the publicly traded company’s fiscal targets.

“Don’t ask about what are we going to do if we don’t get a bonus,” she said. “Spend your time and your effort thinking about the $26 million we need, and not thinking about what are we going to do if we don’t get a bonus, alright? Can I get some commitment for that? I would appreciate that.”

Owen concludes with what she describes as some wisdom a former boss shared with her: “You can visit Pity City but you can’t live there. So people, leave Pity City — let’s get it done.”

MillerKnoll sales saw a decline of 4.4% during the last quarter, which ended on March 4th. Additionally, orders slumped by 19%.

This drop in demand can be attributed to a sluggish economy and increased borrowing costs, causing a reduction in the need for expensive office furniture.

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