BREAKING: Papa John's Founder John Schnatter Has Resigned as Chairman of the Board
LOUISVILLE, KY - July 12, 2018
On Wednesday, Papa John's announed that it's founder, John Schnatter, was resigning from the company. The annoucement came just hours after Schnatter apologized for using a racial slur during a conference call in May.
Schnatter's statement during the May conference call was, "'Colonel Sanders called blacks n-----s [and never] faced public backlash.' "
He explained it as using the N-word during a media training exercise and apologized later.
"Regardless of the context, I apologize," the statement says.
When journalists asked him how he would distance himself from racist groups, Schnatter reportedly complained that Colonel Sanders never faced a backlash for using the word.
Forbes reported that "Schnatter was asked how he would distance himself from racist groups online" and that he "responded by downplaying the significance of his NFL statement." This was in reference to a suggestion Schnatter made during the chain's November quarterly earnings call that sales had been dragged down because of how the NFL handled the players who kneeled in protest during the national anthem.
The University of Louisville also said Wednesday that Schnatter resigned from its board of trustees, effective immediately.
The full statement from UofL Board of Trustees chairman J. David Grissom about John Schnatter. pic.twitter.com/Sur2D7ISnO— University of Louisville (@uofl) July 11, 2018
There are no details about his resignation. It is known that Papa John's shares fell nearly 5 percent Wednesday after the report, closing at $48.33.
Schnatter said it would appoint a new chairman in the coming weeks and that in the meantime Olivia Kirtley will be acting as the lead independent director. Kirtley has been on the board since 2003.
Papa John's was founded in 1984; the first company's restaurant was opened in 1985. The pizza chain is the nation's fourth-largest by systemwide sales, trailing Domino's, Pizza Hut and Little Caesar's.