Next Score View the next score

    Papa John’s founder resigns as chairman

    FILE - In this Wednesday, Oct. 18, 2017, file photo, Papa John's founder and CEO John Schnatter attends a meeting in Louisville, Ky. Schnatter is apologizing after reportedly using a racial slur during a conference call in May 2018. The apology Wednesday, July 11, 2018, comes after Forbes cited an anonymous source saying the pizza chain's marketing firm broke ties with the company afterward. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley, File)
    Timothy D. Easley/Associated Press/File
    John Schnatter attends a meeting in Louisville, Ky. in October 2017.

    Papa John’s founder John Schnatter has resigned as chairman of the pizza chain’s board.

    The company made the announcement late Wednesday, hours after Schnatter apologized for using a racial slur during a conference call in May. Schnatter, who has appeared in TV ads for the pizza chain, still owns about 30 percent of the company’s shares.

    Forbes reported that 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 released by Louisville, Kentucky-based Papa John's, Schnatter said reports attributing use of ‘‘inappropriate and hurtful’’ language to him were true.

    Get Ground Game in your inbox:
    Daily updates and analysis on national politics from James Pindell.
    Thank you for signing up! Sign up for more newsletters here

    ‘‘Regardless of the context, I apologize,’’ the statement says.

    The University of Louisville also said Wednesday that Schnatter resigned from its board of trustees, effective immediately.

    Schnatter had already stepped down as CEO of Papa John’s last year after blaming slowing sales growth on the outcry surrounding football players kneeling during the national anthem.

    As of Thursday morning, Schnatter’s image remained on Papa John’s website. The company had noted in a previous regulatory filing that its business could be harmed if Schnatter’s reputation were negatively impacted.


    Papa John’s shares were up 4 percent Thursday morning after the company announced Schnatter’s departure.