On Thursday, Papa John’s announced that its founder John Schnatter would step down as CEO next month.
Schnatter will be replaced by Steve Ritchie, the current president of the company.
However, Schnatter will stay on the company’s board as Chairman and founder.
Ritchie has been with the company since 2006.
In a statement, Schnatter praised Ritchie for his promotion.
Schnatter stated, “I am so proud of Steve – he has excelled at every job he’s ever held at Papa John’s – from being an hourly customer service rep, to a delivery driver, store general manager, director of operations, franchisee and most recently President.”
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He continued, “With 120,000 Papa John’s corporate and franchise employees, Steve will put the spotlight on our pizza and the most important ingredient – our team members. We couldn’t have a more proven leader to guide Papa John’s through its next stage of growth.”
The promotion was confirmed in a news release. However, the news release did not give a reason.
Schnatter is stepping down weeks after he caused controversy when he spoke out about the NFL protests.
Schnatter stated, “This should have been nipped in the bud a year and a half ago. The controversy is polarizing the customer, polarizing the country.”
The company apologized for the comment two weeks later. The apology came after white supremacists praised Schnatter for his comment and called Papa John’s, the “official pizza of the alt-right.”
This is not the first time Schnatter has stepped down as CEO. In 2005, he stepped down but returned as CEO three years later.
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