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Papa John’s Evicts Founder from Corporate Offices

Papa John's
AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley

Papa John’s founder John Schnatter is still suffering fallout from his use of the n-word as his company continues its campaign to distance itself from him, this time evicting him from his offices at the company headquarters.

In a recent meeting of company officials, a board of independent directors announced the termination of Schnatter’s agreement to be the face of the company and began the process of removing him from all advertising materials, Bloomberg reported.

Schnatter already resigned as the company’s chairman on July 8, but he still has a place on the board and owns about 30 percent of the company’s stock shares.

His woes inside the pizza chain he founded are part and parcel with the backlash he faces in other venues. In one case, Schnatter’s name was also removed from the University of Louisville’s football stadium.

Schnatter’s hometown of Jefferson, Indiana, also removed his name from a basketball gym and his photo was removed from the city’s Wall of Fame.

Schnatter resigned from his company on July 12 after taking flack for using the n-word during a training session on workplace behavior. During the conference call, the pizza chain founder observed that Colonel Harlan Sanders of Kentucky Fried Chicken fame — who died in 1980 — used the n-word and no one ever came down on him. Schnatter maintains he was using the word in a technical sense and not using it as an epithet.

Regardless, Papa John’s has had an unexpected downturn that started even before the flap over Schnatter’s comments. Papa John’s sales dropped 5.3 percent in North America, Bloomberg noted.

“We know we can do better and I’m confident that we will,” CEO Steve Ritchie said in May. “We expect sales to improve later this year as our new marketing and technology initiatives roll out.”

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.

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