Papa John's CEO Steps Down Amid Controversial Comments About NFL Protests

23 December, 2017, 01:57 | Author: Grady Montgomery
  • John Schnatter who founded the Papa John’s pizza chain in the 1980s is leaving the chief executive seat

Ritchie has been with Papa John's since 2006.

Schnatter triggered fierce criticism by saying the pizza chain's sales were hurt by the NFL's handling of the controversy over players kneeling during the national anthem to protest police violence and racial injustice.

The man who built an empire serving mediocre at best pizza (yeah, I said it) is stepping down. Papa John's added Ritchie to the succession plan for the company's top job in 2015 when he was named president.

Schnatter has now decided he would step down as CEO of Papa John's, effective immediately. Schnatter, who appears in the chain's commercials and on its pizza boxes, and is the company's biggest shareholder, remains chairman of the board.

A blog post on the racist website the Daily Stormer proclaimed the company the "official pizza of the alt-right".




The company, which has more than 5,000 locations worldwide, said in a statement that Schnatter will continue to "pursue his personal passion for entrepreneurship, leadership development and education".

Schnatter has stepped down from the CEO role before.

The company's sales growth has been slow across its North American stores in the third quarter compared with last year's period, and therefore lowered its earnings prospects for the region.

Papa John's stock closed at $59.23, down 2 cents or 0.03 per cent on Thursday. He took a break from being CEO between 2005 and 2008.

Speaking with Business Insider in January, Schnatter emphasized that he believes that regulation in the United States needs to be dialed back to help businesses thrive. Schnatter often appears in advertisements during National Football League games, and has credited its close relationship with the National Football League and particularly quarterback Peyton Manning for sales boosts in the past.

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