'Undercover Boss': Mood Media CEO Lorne Abony Reunites With Estranged Father

It's often what's going on in the background that really matters.

Few people are as well-equipped to embrace that philosophy as Lorne Abony, the CEO of Mood Media Corporation of Ontario, Canada, a global company that provides in-store services for retail businesses, including the Muzak that plays in the background of your gym, restaurant or mall. (The U.S. headquarters is in Charlotte, N.C.) It's one of those companies "you've invariably experienced without knowing that you've experienced us," Abony said while introducing himself during the "Undercover Boss" episode that aired on Friday.

The importance of that which goes on in the background is also a dynamic that resonates for Abony on a personal level. Growing up with "very very little money" and a father who was AWOL through most of his youth, this "Undercover Boss" nonetheless rose to gain two law degrees, as well as an MBA from Columbia University. And he now leads a global company with $500 million a year in revenue and is a highly ranked amateur tennis player on a doubles tennis team that's ranked second in the over-40-year-old division of the United States Tennis Association.

But his issue with his father moved from Abony's background to center stage as the CEO was forced to confront childhood demons -- and ultimately make peace in a dramatic encounter on the recent episode of "Undercover Boss." This time it was as much about a new beginning for the boss as it was about his employees.

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Before his appearance on "Undercover Boss," Abony hadn't spoken to his dad for a decade. Because of the pain that he felt from his father's absence during his youth, Abony decided to cut his father out of his life completely, he said, "to ensure I don't feel that way anymore." It became clear that his pain still lingered, though, when a Mood Media worker told Albony about his own short-sightedness in ignoring his father out of anger.

On a site visit to a Mood Music site in Atlanta, Abony worked alongside Devin, who assembles the company's equipment from scratch. Abony was posing as "Beau," a failed nightclub owner appearing on a "second chances" reality show.

Devin spent time with "Beau," telling him about his family life. Though like Abony, he didn't go into every gory detail for the camera, Devin did reveal to "Beau" that he'd left home at 17 amid a series of problems that included his parents' divorce and one very messy night. So, Devin said, he decided years ago to cut his ties to his father. But the deaths of his uncle and grandmother in the same year led him to change his mind. "I learned to let my pride go," he told "Beau."

"Beau" conceded to Devin that he had a very similar situation. After Devin spoke of the importance of letting go of anger and swallowing pride, "Beau" told him, "I might just take your advice."

And that he did. During the show's reveal, he sat down with his father (as shown in the video above), and told him, "I only have one dad and i want to be part of your life," though he added, "We won't solve everything today." Sitting across from his son during a reunion in New York City, his father showed that he was on the same page. "I love you unconditionally.... It would be nice to know that we can have some kind of relationship," he said, while tearing up. "Something that keeps us together."

A humbled CEO is a common theme on the "Undercover Boss" series, now into its fourth season. One of the dramatic moments from the third season was when Philly Pretzel CEO Dan Dizio was forced to admit that he hadn't remembered meeting and making promises to some of his franchise owners.

And for Abony, his talk with Devin was just one of several humbling moments during his "Undercover Boss" appearance. While visiting Leila, a dispatcher based out of Austin, Texas, Abony was able to check on the results of a buyout of a rival company, DMX. Leila showed a voluble charm in working with the company's technicians, greeting one on the phone by shrieking his name. But then she told Abony that many of DMX's longtime workers feared losing their jobs as a result of duplication in the aftermath of the buyout. Abony was taken back, and later said that it was a very different experience to "look into [the] eyes" of his workers as compared to studying spreadsheets.

It was one of those CEO moments that can't help but make you wonder if such detachment is required to attain corporate power. (AOL Jobs recently reported on a study of the rate of psychopathy among CEOs that put it at four times that of the general population.) How could it not have occurred to Abony before that there were human consequences to harsh cost-cutting measures?

Abony also was humbled while doing a site job with John on Long Island, N.Y. Abony (as "Beau") was rated as a "little slow" by the amiable John, in cutting wooden boards to be used for equipment. And so John shared that he thought "Beau" would probably be better off in the manager's chair.

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Abony's fear of heights was exposed during his visit to a Planet Fitness in Atlanta. He was visibly uncomfortable in climbing a ladder while installing a closed-circuit security system; he said that he thought it was wobbly, and then asked to come down. Eileen, his trainee, said that she "never saw anyone react like that." Abony, for his part, was more at ease with his foibles as an on-the-ground worker, and conceded that he's "absolutely terrible" at these jobs.

Abony's earnestness in helping his workers was demonstrated during the show's reveal. He announced that Eileen's partner won't have to worry any more about her benefits, and that effective immediately, Mood Media would pick up the costs for same-sex partners, even though it would cost the company $200,000 a year.

And he told Leila that he was making a $5,000 donation in her name to an animal cruelty charity, out of respect of her love for her four dogs. He also told her that she'd be the recipient of $15,000 toward her education as a veterinarian. To John,` he offered $40,000 to use as he wishes, but certainly some of the money was intended for his daughter's honeymoon, which Abony knew he was saving for.

To Devin, who inspired Abony to reach out to his father, he gave $30,000.

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CatherinaLucy

Most of the people got worried because of not having money with them.
http://www.prjobs.co.in/

February 19 2013 at 6:03 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
BRUCIE

ALL CEOs needs to quit taking on perks and expensive lifestyles to ensure each and every job is saved first.

January 09 2013 at 7:29 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
murphymomm123

Glad to see the comments are not falling for this. He has put lots of people out of a job. Why? He cares on about himself. A true narcissus. No father figure in his life to correct that personality. A mother cannot correct this in a young man. Only fathers and the old guy was not around so no correction we get a narcissus in society who becomes successful but has no feeling for others only himself. So the consequences to society are not caring for other mens families, and he lays people off so his company can succeed. Dont blame the government, I am sure this CEO can take a lifestyle cut and save jobs. He did not and he will not. He plays tennis instead. Happens in woman too but they do not run companies by in large. Think before you do not father your son.

January 09 2013 at 3:20 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Godfather

For those who have lost their jobs I am sorry. However, it is not the fault of the ceo. The fault lies with over taxation on these huge companies. This taxation causes each employe to cost a certain amount of money to keep or maintain. If this money costs more than the value of the work that employee does then he must be let go so others can retain their jobs. So the fault lies with the government, specifically the liberals. The liberal agenda has always been filled with high taxes and spending. How do you solve this problem? Vote them out of office. The CEO leads a company because of what he has done to build it up or what his predecessor has done and rightfully passed on to him/her. So don't claim the CEO!

January 08 2013 at 9:34 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
dan

I worked for Muzak, a division of Mood Media. I was laid off Dec 1 w hundreds of my co-workers. Wonder if the $200,000 in benefits to 1 person had anything to do with me being laid off? Typical CEO. His own life is far more important than the lives of the 1000's he employs, or used to employ. Glad he feels good about himself. I have to worry about feeding my family and keeping a roof over our heads while he plays tennis and dissolves companies. Well played, Lorne

January 08 2013 at 3:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
pat

i work for an affiliate of mood....wish he'd come to my office, i could use a perk.

January 08 2013 at 2:01 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
ibsunny1

yay. I love this story.

January 08 2013 at 12:18 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
podcat1023

Undercover Boss is a nice show BUT I do not like the way they give thousands of dollars to a few employee the CEO happens to work with. This is unfair to the other employees. All his employees have the same issue, no money, no rent, long travel to work, sick child and they give thousdands to one and forget about the thousands of others who could you the couple of thousands too. I guess your just lucky if the ceo works with you, otherwise you get nothing.

January 08 2013 at 11:28 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
aman4mennj

Why is the fact that psychopathy 4 times greater in CEO than general population a shock!? It's the same rate if not greater among politicians!
WAKE UP PEOPLE! DON'T PUT UP WITH IT! IF YOU DON'T STAND FOR SOMETHING; YOU'LL FALL FOR ANYTHING! NOW GET UP!

January 08 2013 at 10:24 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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