Whenever you hear or read anything from a CEO, chances are that it went through many stages of filtering to match a specific message.
Companies spend lots of money to train their executives how to deal with the media and what not to say in public.
But sometimes, on stage or on social media, these execs go too far off script, sending their PR teams scrambling to craft a response to the backlash.
We compiled a list of the most infamous CEO gaffes and the apologies they issued after telling us what they really think.
Nadella gave some advice on how to negotiate a raise during a gathering of women in tech last week. He told the audience to trust the system to advance their salaries instead of asking for the amount they want.
'It's not really about asking for a raise, but knowing and having faith that the system will give you the right raise,' he said.
People in the audience immediately took to social media to criticise his comments. Women are hugely underrepresented in Silicon Valley, and last week's event aimed to address this very problem. The week before Nadella spoke, Microsoft shared its demographic data, which showed that only 29% of its employees are women.
Nadella tweeted an apology shortly after the event.
He also sent an email to Microsoft employees saying that he 'answered that question completely wrong.'
Earnings calls with company executives every quarter are a great opportunity to hear about their vision for the companies they run. But after Boeing released its second quarter earnings in July, McNerney said something in the Q&A with analysts that enraged unions.
According to The Seattle Times, he was talking about his plans to stay on at the company after he turned 65, the company's official age for executives to retire, when he said:
'The heart will still be beating, the employees will still be cowering, I'll be working hard.'
One union said his statement represented 'anti-personnel management,' and another circulated a foldable poster that showed a man crouched behind his desk with the caption 'if I'm away from my desk, then I must be cowering somewhere.'
McNerney later spoke directly with some employees and sent a company-wide email. 'I should have used different words, and I apologise for them,' it read. 'I will definitely be more careful going forward.'
Legere is known for frequently ditching the script for more frank, profanity-laden comments when he speaks. He's told Business Insider that he does this to connect with employees and customers.
But during a press event in June, he pushed it too far when describing rivals AT&T and Verizon:
'These high and mighty duopolists that are raping you for every penny you have ... they f------ hate you.'
T-mobile employees called him out for trivializing sexual violence in an online letter, even though he quickly apologized the following day:
A few months before Snapchat's recent data breach, Spiegel failed to plug the leak on emails he sent while at Stanford University. In May, Valleywag obtained and published embarrassing emails he sent while he was the social chair of the Kappa Sigma fraternity.
The emails, sent in early 2010, include: 'Shopping list: 1 ounce of marijuana, 1 kilo of blow … I'll roll a blunt for whoever sees the most t--- tonight,' and, 'did I just pee on Lily … the back of her shirt is soaked.'
Spiegel was quick to apologise in an emailed statement that said, 'I have no excuse. I'm sorry I wrote them at the time and I was jerk to have written them. They in no way reflect who I am today or my views towards women.'
Last December, Gopman posted a four-paragraph tirade about San Francisco on Facebook that lambasted 'the lower part of society' for degrading the city.
'In downtown SF the degenerates gather like hyenas, spit, urinate, taunt you, sell drugs, get rowdy, they act like they own the center of the city. Like it's their place of leisure... In actuality it's the business district for one of the wealthiest cities in the USA. It a disgrace. I don't even feel safe walking down the sidewalk without planning out my walking path.'
He deleted the post and a subsequent apology he posted on Facebook: 'I'm really sorry for my comments. I trivialized the plight of those struggling to get by and I shouldn't have.'
Last October, Lululemon customers told Business Insider that their new leggings started pilling within weeks, sometimes days.
Then, in an interview on Bloomberg TV, Wilson said that some women's bodies could be to blame: 'It's really about the rubbing through the thighs, how much pressure is there over a period of time,' he said.
Wilson has said a number of outrageous things about women, divorce, and Japanese people. But the backlash from his TV interview appeared to be the breaking point for Wilson, who posted a distraught YouTube apology.
Of course, Wilson's tone-deaf remarks may not reflect his performance as CEO: Lululemon leggings are the most popular fashion accessory with teens this fall, according to a recent survey.
The CEO of the international pasta giant landed in hot water after he said he would never feature gay people in the company's ads.
Speaking on an Italian radio show in September 2013, he said: 'For us the concept of the sacred family remains one of the fundamental values of the company.'
He went further to share his thoughts on gay parents, according to NewNowNext: 'I have no respect for adoption by gay families, because this concerns a person who is not able to choose.'
He also added that people who were upset by his comments should eat another brand.
But he made a U-turn the following day in a statement, saying the comments did not reflect his opinion, and he has 'the utmost respect for gay people.'
The former Chrysler and Fiat CEO used a term offensive to Italian Americans during an interview in January 2012.
USA Today reported that Marchionne was talking about the new Alfa Romeo car being introduced in the US at the North American International Auto Show when he said: 'With all due respect to my American friends, it needs to be a wop.'
Wop is short for 'WithOut Papers,' and was used to describe Italian immigrants who arrived in the 18th and 19th centuries without documentation. Marchionne was apparently saying that an engine designed in Italy would be better for the American model of the car.
The Italian-American One Voice Coalition, which fights discrimination against Italian-Americans, pressed him for an apology for several months.
He issued a letter a year later which read: 'I am proud of my Italian heritage, and nothing I have said should be interpreted as an attempt at minimising its value. I extend my apologies to anyone who may have been offended by my remark.'
Abercrombie & Fitch did not stock XL or XXL sizes in women's clothing for many years even though its competitors like H&M did. In 2006, Jeffries said the company deliberately excluded plus-size women because it did not want to appeal to everyone.
Here's part of what he said in the interview with Salon:
'In every school there are the cool and popular kids, and then there are the not-so-cool kids,' he told the site. 'Candidly, we go after the cool kids. We go after the attractive all-American kid with a great attitude and a lot of friends. A lot of people don't belong, and they can't belong. Are we exclusionary? Absolutely.'
Seven years and 70,000 petition signatures later, the company apologized and invited some teens to a meeting with executives.
'We look forward to continuing this dialogue and taking concrete steps to demonstrate our commitment to anti-bullying in addition to our ongoing support of diversity and inclusion,' the company said. 'We want to reiterate that we sincerely regret and apologise for any offence caused by comments we have made in the past which are contrary to these values.'
Abercrombie & Fitch added a plus-size range this spring.
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.