MillerKnoll CEO Andi Owen tells employees to 'leave pity city' after they complain about not receiving bonuses

Andi Owen.
Andi Owen. Photo credit: YouTube

A CEO in the United States has sparked outrage for telling employees to "leave pity city" after they complained about not receiving bonuses.

That's despite her getting a seven-figure bonus as part of her US$4.9 million (NZ$7.8 million) salary.

The leaked video shows the CEO and president of US furniture giant MillerKnoll, Andi Owen, addressing questions about how workers could stay motivated even though they wouldn't receive a bonus.

"The most important thing we can do right now is focus on the things that we can control. None of us could've predicted COVID, none of us could've predicted supply chain, none of us could've predicted bank failures," she told staff last month during a company town hall over Zoom. 

"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."

But it quickly took a turn after Owen became visibly agitated and started waving her hand in the air while she spoke.

"Don't ask about, 'What are we going to do if we don't get a bonus?'" she said.

"Get the damn $26 million. 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?"

It is unclear exactly what the $26 million is referring to, but Vice reported it is an internal metric the company wouldn't discuss publicly.

Owen continued by quoting the advice of a former manager.

"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."

Her comments came at the end of a 75-minute town hall where Owen talked about industry changes, upcoming product launches, brand marketing campaigns, and more, Vice reported.

A MillerKnoll representative said the clip that's circling online doesn't show the full context.

"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 Vice.

According to, Owen made US$1.2 million (NZ$1.9 million) in bonuses alone last year, and in 2021 got US$1.12 million (NZ1.8 million). Bonuses for this year haven't been decided yet.