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- Papa John’s founder and former CEO John Schnatter resigned from his position as chairman of the board on Wednesday.
- Schnatter’s resignation comes one day after he admitted to using the N-word during a May conference call with a marketing agency.
- The company said it would appoint a new chairman in the coming weeks.
Papa John’s founder and former CEO John Schnatter resigned from his position as chairman of the board, one day after he admitted to using the N-word during a company conference call in May.
The company said it would appoint a new chairman in the coming weeks, according to a press release.
Schnatter’s resignation comes a day after the executive was reported to have used the N-word during a May conference call with a marketing agency. The purpose of the call was to address the backlash after Schnatter suggested the NFL and some of its players’ national-anthem demonstrations drove down the pizza chain’s sales in 2017.
“On the May call, Schnatter was asked how he would distance himself from racist groups online,” a source said in a Forbes report Wednesday. “He responded by downplaying the significance of his NFL statement. ‘Colonel Sanders called blacks n—–s,’ Schnatter allegedly said, before complaining that Sanders never faced public backlash.”
The source added that although Schnatter intended for his remarks to show his stance against racism, multiple people found it objectionable. Schnatter admitted he made the remarks and apologized.
“News reports attributing the use of inappropriate and hurtful language to me during a media training session regarding race are true,” Schnatter said in a statement to Business Insider. “Regardless of the context, I apologize. Simply stated, racism has no place in our society.”
“Our company was built on a foundation of mutual respect and acceptance,” the statement said. “We take great pride in the diversity of the Papa John’s family, though diversity and inclusion is an area where we will continue to strive to do better.”
The company that once generated an annual revenue of over $1.7 billion took a hit following the NFL controversy – Papa John’s stock plummeted 11% soon after an earnings call that addressed the scandal, according to Forbes. Schnatter resigned as CEO in January but remained on the board.