Papa John's founder and CEO steps down

Papa John's founder and CEO steps down

The company said its current president, Steve Ritchie, would replace him.

The pizza company announced on Thursday founder John Schnatter, AKA Papa John himself, will be stepping down as CEO after a recent slow patch, followed by some incendiary comments.

"This should have been nipped in the bud a year and a half ago", Schnatter said on a conference call with investors.

Friends, today is a dark day in the world of Italian-themed quick-serve restaurant franchises, for John "Papa John" Schnatter, whose keen business acumen and unmatched marketing savvy resulted in neo-Nazis everywhere publicly declaring their undying love for his company's product, is stepping down as CEO of his eponymous carbo-loaded empire.

Papa John's founder and CEO John Schnatter attends the Indy 500 on May 23, 2015, in Indianapolis.




Schnatter, who is the company's largest shareholder and appears in the chain's commercials and pizza boxes, will remain chairman on the board.

"The N.F.L. has hurt us by not resolving the current debacle to the players' and owners' satisfaction", Mr. Schnatter, 56, said on November 1 during a conference call with investors. Papa John's shares fell 8.5 percent in a single day during November - the biggest drop in two years - after same-store sales missed analysts' estimates. After massive backlash, he said "I sincerely apologize to anyone that thought they were divisive". The 43-year-old, who began as a Papa John's customer-service rep making $6 an hour in 1996, has been chief operating officer for the past three years. Instead, he only said that it was "the right time to make this change".

The company's stock is down a whopping 13 percent his he made his polarizing player protest comments.

Later that month, the Louisville, Kentucky-based company said it didn't intend to be polarizing with the remarks. That has reduced Schnatter's 9.5 million share stake in the company by almost $84 million. "We also believe together, as Americans, we should honor our anthem".

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