Sci-tech

Papa John's founder to quit as CEO

Papa John's founder to quit as CEO

Papa John's founder John Schnatter took plenty of heat for his comments about the NFL's handling of anthem protests.

Ritchie, 43, has been a longtime employee with Papa John's.

"Leadership starts at the top and this is an example of poor leadership", Schnatter said, noting he thought the issue had been "nipped in the bud" a year and a half ago.

On December 21, 2017, Papa John's announced that Schnatter would be stepping down as Chief Executive Officer and would be replaced by Chief Operating Office Steve Richie. "We are disappointed the NFL and its leadership did not resolve this", referring to the USA national anthem protests.

Schnatter owns roughly 25% of Papa John's, and will stay on as chairman after stepping down as CEO in January.

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".

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".

This is not the first time that Schnatter has stepped down as CEO.

Prior to backlash for his comments on the NFL, Schnatter has a history of statements that have sparked political controversy. He removed himself from the gig in 2005 before returning in 2008. "We couldn't have a more proven leader to guide Papa John's through its next stage of growth".

But his impending title change caught restaurant industry watchers by surprise. 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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