Papa John's Founder Resigns After Using Racial Slur, Gains $50 Million

Papa John's Founder Resigns After Using Racial Slur, Gains $50 Million

Papa John’s pizza continues to flounder after it was reported that the company’s Founder and Chairman John Schnatter had used the N-word in a conference call aimed at preparing Schnatter to take on a more public view. According to Forbes, the company was planning to re-introduce Schnatter as a large part of the Papa John’s marketing campaign after he had stepped back because of his controversial NFL comments. Schnatter stepped down as CEO late last year in response to backlash caused by his remarks blaming the NFL protests for a slow in Papa Johns’ business.

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NFL Inks New Official Sponsorship Deal Hours After Cutting Ties with Papa John’s

NFL Inks New Official Sponsorship Deal Hours After Cutting Ties with Papa John’s

On Wednesday, Pizza Hut announced it had signed a multi-year agreement to serve as the NFL's new official pizza sponsor. The announcement comes one day after Papa John’s announced it had ended it’s NFL sponsorship deal according to "Business Insider."

Papa John's new CEO Steve Ritchie, who took over for founder John Schnatter in December, told investors Tuesday that Papa John's would be shifting its marketing from the NFL as a whole to focus on specific teams and players.

Papa John's and the NFL said in a statement that they made a "mutual decision" to end the pizza chain's official league sponsorship deal, bringing an end to Papa John's 8-year run as the official pizza of the NFL.

Back in November, then-CEO Schnatter blamed the National Football League's leadership for hurting the company's performance because it had not resolved the ongoing controversy over players kneeling in protest during the National Anthem.

With the end of the NFL deal, Papa John's is "redirecting investments" towards new technology, as 60% of the chain's sales are made through digital channels.

Ritchie said that the chain has been "perceived to be too expensive" and will double down on value going forward. Papa John's is additionally planning to expand its menu, according to executives.

After the announcement, shares of Papa Johns shed as much as 8 percent in aftermarket trading, says “CNBC.” 

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