Papa John’s used to be known as your friendly pizza parlor. But now its reputation is tarnished, its founder has been banished, and its stock price is plummeting. Can it bounce back?
When the news emerged in July 2018 that Papa John’s former CEO, board chairman and founder John Schnatter had used a racial slur during a media training session, it was the latest salvo in a series of missteps by the pizza king. He had previously tangled with the NFL, blaming it for “poor leadership” when several of its players kneeled during the playing of the national anthem.
Papa John’s board had already replaced Schnatter with new CEO Steve Ritchie in December of 2017, who now has to clean up the mess left by his predecessor.
In the last year, Papa John’s stock has dipped to $45 a share from a high of $78, a nearly 30% drop. Papa John’s is the third largest pizza chain in the U.S., after Pizza Hut and Domino’s Pizza.