Market Overview

Papa John's Founder Says 'Day Of Reckoning' Will Come for Pizza Chain

Papa John's Founder Says 'Day Of Reckoning' Will Come for Pizza Chain

Papa John's Int'l, Inc. (NASDAQ: PZZA) founder John Schnatter said in a WDRB-TV  interview Monday that the pizza chain was stolen from his hands and those responsible should be arrested.

Schnatter Says Papa John's Execs 'Hurt A Lot Of People'

Schnatter sat down for an interview with the Louisville, Kentucky-based news outlet and said his ouster was a "farce." 

The ex-CEO was ousted after using the "N word" during a company conference call, but he said it was used in the context of conveying his hatred of racism.

Schnatter's comments on the call were taken out of context by company insiders who seized an opportunity to have him removed, he said. What surprised Schnatter is that the coup came "from people inside," he said. 

Former CEO Steve Ritchie and former chair of the board Olivia Kirtley, along with other directors, "used the black community and race as a way to steal the company," Schnatter said. Kirtley, along with board member Mark Shapiro "should be in jail," he said. 

"What they've done is just wrong, and they've hurt a lot of people."

New CEO Has No Pizza Experience

Papa John's CEO Rob Lynch has experience in the restaurant industry, as he came from Arby's. But Schnatter told WDRB Lynch not only has "no pizza experience," but he lacks a "passion for people" — and never held a CEO title before.

Under Lynch's leadership, the pizza chain is a "miserable place" and losing "all of their good people," Schnatter said.

The company has seen more executive departures in the past year than under Schnatter's entire 10-year tenure, the ex-CEO said.

Now it is the customers who are being impacted the most with a pizza product that no longer tastes good, he said. 

"The way they're making the pizza is just not fundamental to what makes a Papa John's pizza."

'Day Of Reckoning' Is Coming

Schnatter said "right now" he doesn't want to return to the company and is no longer the largest shareholder.

If he does return with a brand new management team in his corner, employees will be "doing back flips" and "bouncing off the walls," he said. 

In the meantime, Schnatter said without elaborating that a "day of reckoning will come" where the "record will be straight." This will come "sooner rather than later," he said. 

"Stay tuned." 

The stock was down 0.51% at $61.52 at the time of publication. 

Related Links:

Shaq Hopes To Help Papa John's Rebound

Papa John Founder Says He Wasn't Forced To Retire

Photo credit: Mr. BlueMauMau, Flickr

Posted-In: John Schnatter Pizza Rob LynchRestaurants Media General Best of Benzinga


Related Articles (PZZA)

View Comments and Join the Discussion!