Talking Points

TALKING POINTS

Papa John’s founder apologizes for racial slur

FAST FOOD

Papa John’s founder apologizes for racial slur

Papa John’s founder John Schnatter is apologizing after using a racial slur during a conference call in May. The apology Wednesday comes after Forbes cited an anonymous source saying the pizza chain’s marketing firm broke ties with the company afterward. Forbes said Schnatter used the N-word during a media training exercise. When asked how he would distance himself from racist groups, Schnatter reportedly complained that Colonel Sanders never faced a backlash for using the word. In a statement from Papa John’s, Schnatter said reports attributing use of ‘‘inappropriate and hurtful’’ language to him were true. He said, ‘‘Regardless of the context, I apologize.’’ Schnatter stepped down as CEO last year after blaming slowing sales growth on the outcry surrounding football players kneeling during the national anthem. He remains chairman. — ASSOCIATED PRESS

FRAUD

Massachusetts woman pleads guilty to stealing about $2.7m from former employer

A Massachusetts woman has pleaded guilty to stealing about $2.7 million from her former employer. Federal prosecutors say 57-year-old Debra Mulloy, of Milford, pleaded guilty on Tuesday to aggravated identity theft and wire fraud. Prosecutors say while overseeing the Boston company’s bookkeeping and accounting functions from 2012 through 2016, she used a company-issued credit card in the name of another employee to make about $2.4 million in unauthorized purchases of luxury items including jewelry and furs. She then resold some of those items at consignment shops. She also had about $300,000 worth of company checks issued to her, which she primarily used to pay personal credit card bills. Authorities did not disclose the name of the company. Sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 9.
— ASSOCIATED PRESS

RIDE HAILING

Uber’s human resources chief abruptly quits

Uber’s chief human resources officer has abruptly stepped down. Liane Hornsey told employees in an e-mail obtained by the Associated Press Wednesday that she is leaving the company but gave no reason. Hornsey wrote that employees may think the decision came out of the blue, but she has been thinking about leaving for a while. The departure comes amid CEO Dara Khosrowshahi’s efforts to change the ride-hailing service’s culture to prevent repeated misbehavior including widespread sexual misconduct under former CEO Travis Kalanick. She was hired just weeks before a female former Uber engineer penned a blog exposing sexual harassment that included propositions from her boss. The blog by Susan Fowler said that her complaints to the Human Resources department were ignored. The company fired 20 people including some managers after an investigation by former US Attorney General Eric Holder’s law firm. — ASSOCIATED PRESS

RESTAURANTS

Oprah invests in chain that serves healthy, seasonal food

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Billionaire Oprah Winfrey is putting her money where her mouth is, investing in a health-driven restaurant chain that tries to put better-for-you options at busy Americans’ fingertips. Winfrey is taking a stake in True Food Kitchen, with her investment slated to help it expand across the United States. The brand plans to double its store count to about 46 in the next three years with a focus on the East Coast, including New York, New Jersey, and North Carolina. In the past, Winfrey has used her wide-ranging appeal to boost companies, including helping fuel a comeback for Weight Watchers International Inc. The diet company has been on a tear since the billionaire media mogul bought a stake and agreed to pitch the brand in 2015. — BLOOMBERG NEWS

MEDIA

BBC’s dozen top earners are all men

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A year after a public relations debacle over wide pay disparities between its male and female stars, the BBC on Wednesday released a new list detailing how much it pays its top talent. And while the list suggested that there had been some progress, the reality remains somewhat gloomy for women. Despite a narrowing of the BBC’s gender pay gap, the list showed that the publicly financed broadcaster’s 12 highest-paid stars were men. The revelation prompted accusations that the British broadcaster was actually moving backward considering that last year only the seven highest paid were men. This year, only two women ranked among the 20 highest paid. Claudia Winkleman, at No. 13, was the highest-paid woman on the list, earning 370,000-379,999 pounds ($489,000-$502,000). Last year, she ranked No. 8, with a salary of 450,000-500,000 pounds. — NEW YORK TIMES

TRANSPORTATION

Ferry to Canada likely to relocate from Portland to Bar Harbor

A Portland city official says the city ferry service will likely leave the city for Bar Harbor as a new port for a high-speed service between Maine and Canada. Bay Ferries Ltd. is on the verge of submitting a proposal to use Bar Harbor as the western port for its high-speed catamaran ‘‘The Cat’’ ferry service between Maine and Nova Scotia. The Bangor Daily News reports the ferry has been operating out of Portland since 2016 and Bay Ferries is expected to submit a formal proposal this week to Bar Harbor officials. — ASSOCIATED PRESS

ENERGY

CEO of bankrupt Puerto Rican power company quits

The CEO of Puerto Rico’s bankrupt power company resigned on Wednesday just months after he was chosen to oversee its privatization as the US territory struggles to restore electricity to the last of those who remain in the dark nearly 10 months after Hurricane Maria. The resignation of Walter Higgins adds to challenges for a company that is $9 billion in debt and has seen a turnover of leaders since the Category 4 storm hit Puerto Rico. Higgins was named CEO of Puerto Rico’s Electric Power Authority in late March and was expected to help strengthen the power grid and supervise deals to privatize the generation of energy and award concessions for transmission and distribution. Governor Ricardo Rossello said in a statement that Higgins resigned for personal reasons but did not provide details. However, Higgins said in his resignation letter that the compensation details outlined in his contract could not be fulfilled. — ASSOCIATED PRESS

BROADCASTING

21st Century Fox increases bid for Sky

21st Century Fox increased its takeover bid for Sky on Wednesday, raising the stakes in the company’s fight with Comcast over control of the European satellite broadcaster. The new offer for the 61 percent of Sky that Fox does not already own values the company at about 24.5 billion pounds, or $32.5 billion. Comcast’s takeover bid, made in April, valued the broadcaster at about 22 billion pounds. Under the terms of its new offer, Fox would offer 14 pounds a share, or about 12 percent more than its rival. Sky said in a regulatory filing that it would recommend Fox’s new offer to its shareholders after having withdrawn support for a previous bid. — NEW YORK TIMES

PHARMACEUTICALS

Pfizer now will have three divisions

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The drugmaker Pfizer, facing an aging population and shifting risks from the loss of patents, is reshaping its structure into three businesses. The divisions, announced Wednesday, include Innovative Medicines, which will focus on biological science and a new hospital medicines business. An Established Medicines business will include sales for older drugs like the cholesterol pill Lipitor that have lost patent protection. The Consumer Healthcare business will handle over-the-counter medicines. — ASSOCIATED PRESS