News Worms
News Worms


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

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

John Schnatter, the company's CEO and founder, will leave his post after his disparaging comments about the NFL and of its players' national anthem protests in November, NPR reported.

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".

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.

Though Schnatter will hand the reins to longtime deputy Steve Ritchie, who already oversees operations, the move raised fresh questions about a company that's suffered a sales slump this year.

The company did not reveal Schnatter's reason for stepping down more than 30 years after he founded the company, and he will remain the chairman of the board at Papa John's.

Chief Operating Officer Steve Richie will take over as CEO at the start of 2018.

Shares of Papa John's stock (which uses the unique PZZA stock symbol on NASDAQ) have been sacked in 2017, falling 32 percent to about $59 on Thursday. The company even had to come out and say that they weren't pro-Nazi after some alt-right and white supremacist groups wanted to make Papa John's their official pizza after he slammed the racial injustice protests. The company now has more than 5,000 locations.

Schnatter will stay on with the company and act as chairman.

"NFL leadership has hurt Papa John's shareholders", Schnatter said at the time. The pizza chain also pulled several of its planned commercials from National Football League games. Ritchie has been with Papa John's since 2006. "The focus of the brand needs to be the pizza". Papa John's customers can order through Facebook and Apple TV, but Ritchie said he wants the chain to be everywhere customers are. Ritchie said plans for him to succeed Schnatter were made after that.

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