Millionaire boss taking home £4m tells staff to ‘leave Pity City’ and hit target

An upmarket furniture company CEO's attempt to boost her employee's morale has seriously backfired after asking them to leave "Pity City" and stop asking about bonuses.

Andi Owen, who is the head of Michigan, US-based MillerKnoll known for its Herman Miller office chairs went viral as she addressed compensation to the staff.

"A lot of questions came through asking how to stay motivated if we're not going to get a bonus, what can we do, what can we do…some of them were nice, but some of them were not so nice," she addressed in the online internal meeting.

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"The most important thing we can do right now is focus on the things that we can control.

"None of us could have predicted Covid, none of us could have predicted supply chain, none of us could have predicted bank failures, but what we can do is stay in front of our customers, provide the best customer service we can."

She suggested the workers to "lead by example" to treat each other well, be kind and respectful and get the orders out because "the future will be bright".

But the tone quickly changed when she touched on fretting about the bonuses.

The 57-year-old continued: "Don't ask about 'what are we going to do if we don't get a bonus', get the damn $26 million, spend your time and 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.

"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 ended her speech saying "have a great day" and a silent "boom" gesture.

According to her company's proxy filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Andi took home nearly $5million (£4m) in compensation, which includes a $1.1million (£885k) salary plus $4million (£3.2m) from various stock options, bonus pay, and covered expenses like access to a company plane.

Bonuses payouts for the staff, including the CEO, for 2023 have yet to be decided yet as its fiscal year ends in May.

Andi has since apologised after facing backlashes online.

She wrote to her staff via email, according to Vice, that she feels "terrible" that her "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," she wrote.


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