In a corporate video broadcast to store managers nationwide on Monday, Joe McFarland, Lowe's executive store manager, stated the $ 12 DeWalt 12-volt cordless drill "the power tool for the pros."
McFarland wore a camouflage vest and put in front of a sign that said "Lowe's LoweDown," continued to show the features of this week's spotlight: "The case is compact. It fits anywhere. "
And a customer profile:" Some of our Latin American pros with smaller hands, this is perfect for them. "
McFarland's comments, made during a pre-recorded presentation that lasted about half an hour, were posted in Lowe's conference room across the country as part of a weekly gathering of executives to discuss corporate priorities, according to employees who watched the presentation. As part of the meetings, they watch videos often hosted by McFarland.
“Everyone in the room was just like,‘ What? Did he just say that? & # 39 ;, said a Pacific Northwest assistant manager who watched the video Monday afternoon with more than half a dozen executives and supervisors in his store. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he feared reprisals.
"Immediately after that happened, everyone was just like & # 39; Whoa, why would he say that? & # 39 ;," he said.
Employees from all over the country began to voice their concerns about the video in online forums. Another employee said that the video episodes are normally played all week on the company's internal website, but that this has been removed. A clip of it was obtained by The Washington Post.
Lowe's, based in North Carolina and the second largest hardware chain in the country, made an apology from McFarland after Post published its story on Tuesday.
"I apologize for a careless and ignorant comment I made during an affiliate broadcast yesterday," McFarland said. "Our staff shared how my statement was harmful and inappropriate. This is a key reflection moment for me."
McFarland said he takes "full responsibility" For his comment, saying he would spend the next few days and weeks with Lowe's staff, customers and business leaders to try to "learn and grow from this moment."
Another base employee in the Northeast who saw the video with the management team called McFarland's video image comments "unacceptable and degrading."
"What has made my team more upset is that our management feels the other way," the employee said. they don't post the video like they always do, they know it was wrong, but haven't addressed it to the staff, so it makes me feel like they're trying to sweep it under the rug. "
Lowe & # 39; s, which has more more than 1,700 US stores, are laying off thousands of workers, including janitors, maintenance workers, and barbecue and furniture assemblers. Many of these jobs, the company said, will be outsourced to third-party vendors. The company reported last year $ 71.3 billion in annual sales and $ 2.3 billion in profits.
McFarland, who was previously CEO of J.C. Penney and Home Depot, started working for Lowe's August last year. He received a $ 3.74 million compensation package last year, the company's filings show.