Papa John's Founder John Schnatter Exits as CEO

Papa John's founder steps down after blaming anthem protests for slumping sales

Papa John's Founder John Schnatter Exits as CEO

Schnatter will officially step down from his position as CEO effective January 1, 2018.

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. No reason for Schnatter's changing role was given, but the company said he will be pursing "his personal passion for entrepreneurship, leadership development, and education", according to Bloomberg.

On Thursday, Papa John's announced John Schnatter would be replaced by the company's current president, Steve Ritchie. Papa John's is a major sponsor of the NFL, and Schnatter claimed the company's relationship with the league caused angry fans to boycott the chain. He also dished out some criticism to Roger Goodell for not handling it, because it was hurting their sales.

John Schnatter, better known as Papa John, is the American entrepreneur who founded Papa John's worldwide.

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"This should have been nipped in the bud a year and a half ago", Schnatter said on a conference call with investors. The white supremacist website The Daily Stormer even posted an article asking whether Papa John's was the "official pizza of the alt right", forcing the company to say it does not want "hate groups" buying the chain's pizza. He took a break from being CEO between 2005 and 2008. "We couldn't have a more proven leader to guide Papa John's through its next stage of growth".

Speaking with Business Insider in January, Schnatter emphasized that he believes that regulation in the U.S. needs to be dialed back to help businesses thrive.

In 1983, Schnatter sold his Chevy Camaro to help his father's struggling business and used the leftover profits to start Papa John's. The CEO announcement was made after the market has closed.

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