Economic uncertainty has caused stress for many companies as layoffs sweep across industries and the status of a pending recession continues to loom.
And it looks like some executives are taking a harsher approach to communicate these issues than others.
Andi Owen, the CEO and President of office furniture company MillerKnoll, told employees to “leave pity city” after being asked how to stay motivated during challenging times, Vice reported.
“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,” Owen said in a video that has since circulated online.
Owen also told employees not to ask about bonuses — instead, worry about getting the deal done.
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“Get the damn $26 million,” she said. “Spend your time and your effort thinking about the $26 million 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?”
Here we have the President of MillerKnoll, one Andrea R. Owen, telling employees there will be no bonuses. Except hers – for $6.4 million.
— Jay Arnold (@jadedcreative) April 17, 2023
A representative for MillerKnoll told Vice that the clip circulated online does not reflect the larger context of the meeting.
“Andi fiercely believes in this team and all we can accomplish together, and will not be dissuaded by a 90-second clip taken out of context and posted on social media,” MillerKnoll spokesperson Kris Marubio told the outlet.
Over the past three years, MillerKnoll stock has fallen nearly 40% as of Tuesday afternoon. The company announced about 160 permanent layoffs with the closure of one of its manufacturing plants in Wisconsin earlier this month.
The furniture industry experienced record low demand in 2021 and the manufacturing sector fell for the fourth consecutive month in February, according to Furniture Today. Although MillerKnoll does not exclusively sell office furniture, it has been a focal point of the business since its inception — which, considering office closures during and following the pandemic, could contribute to the decline in revenue.
While the MillerKnoll fiscal year has not yet concluded and the status bonuses (including for Owen) have yet to be announced, Owen received bonuses of $1.29 million in 2022 and $1.12 million in 2021, Vice reported.
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