Papa John's Declines After Founder Abruptly Quits the CEO Role

25 December, 2017, 17:33 | Author: Colin Gill
  • Papa John's founder and CEO John Schnatter attends the Indy 500

On Thursday, Papa John's announced that Chief Operating Officer Steve Ritchie would replace Schnatter on January 1.

He will be replaced by company president Steve Ritchie.

Schnatter came under fire for comments he made in November suggesting that the National Football League leadership was responsible for slow sales for the pizza company.

Forbes' numbers don't account for Papa John's recent sales slump - nor for Schnatter's controversial comments response last November.

"We believe in the right to protest inequality and support the players' movement to create a new platform for change", the company said.

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And in the wake of his remarks - for which the company tried to apologize almost two weeks later - the white supremacist website Daily Stormer floated the idea that Papa John's was the "official pizza of the alt-right".

In November, Schnatter criticized the NFL in a conference call with investors, saying that bad leadership had allowed the national anthem protests to continue and divide the pizza-maker's customers. Shares of the pizza chain have lost about a third of their value this year, putting them on course for the first annual decline since 2008. After Schnatter's comments, white supremacists vowed to make Papa John's the official pizza of the so-called alt-right. Schattner remains as chairman of the board. The company now operates more than 5,000 locations.

Industry insiders were caught off guard by Schnatter's decision.

The website posted a picture of a Papa John's pizza with a swastika fashioned from pepperoni.

Later that month, the Louisville, Kentucky-based company said it didn't intend to be polarizing with the remarks. Jones, who owns more than 100 Papa John's franchises, has been a staunch opponent of the anthem protests, even promising to bench any of his players who kneel for the anthem. "We also believe together, as Americans, we should honor our anthem", a statement from the company read.

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