Papa John's founder and CEO steps down

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

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 NFL has hurt us by not resolving the current debacle to the players' and owners' satisfaction", Schnatter said on a conference call Nov.1. "This should have 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. The company later became a huge success with Schnatter also turning into a pop culture staple for his commercials.

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

In his 2017 book "Papa: The Story of Papa John's Pizza", Schnatter argued that regulations are steering the United States away from the system of free enterprise he believes is crucial to the nation's success.

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Papa John's CEO is papa gone. Same-store sales were actually in the green at 1 percent growth, year-over-year. 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. "We do not want these individuals or groups to buy our pizza", the company said in their November 5 statement.

This is not the first time that Schnatter has stepped down as CEO. Schnatter returned as CEO three years later. Papa John's added Ritchie to the succession plan for the company's top job in 2015 when he was named president.

For the good of Papa's shareholders, hopefully Ritchie can still deliver the dough.

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

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