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

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

John Schnatter, the founder of pizza delivery giant Papa John's, is stepping down as the CEO of his company, the Wall Street Journal reports.

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. The company is a large sponsor for the NFL.

"The controversy is polarizing the customer, polarizing the country", Schnatter said during a conference call about the company's earnings on November 1. "We are disappointed the NFL and its leadership did not resolve this", referring to the USA national anthem protests.

"The NFL has been a long and valued partner over the years, but we are certainly disappointed that the NFL and its leadership did not resolve the ongoing situation to the satisfaction of all parties long ago", he continued. "This should've been nipped in the bud a year-and-a-half ago". "The statements made on our earnings call were describing the factors that impact our business and we sincerely apologize to anyone that thought they were divisive", the company tweeted.

Schnatter, who founded the pizza chain in 1984, will remain as chairman of the board. The company later became a huge success with Schnatter also turning into a pop culture staple for his commercials.

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John Schnatter founded the chain in the 1980s and will stay on as its chairman, but leave the other seat on January 1.

Papa John's stock closed at $59.23, down 2 cents or 0.03 per cent on Thursday.

John Schnatter, better known as Papa John, is the American entrepreneur who founded Papa John's worldwide. The company generates approximately $1.4 billion in revenue per year. The company will promote longtime employee and former president Steve Ritchie to the position of CEO. He stepped down in 2005, but returned in 2008. Schnatter announced his decision when the market closed.

"I am humbled to take on this role", Ritchie said in his statement.

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