CEO Steve Ritchie Provides Leadership to Move Papa John’s Beyond Founders’ Insensitive Remarks

When Papa John’s Founder, John Schnatter, recently made racially charged remarks during a conference call, he showed himself as not only someone who was insensitive to race relations within the country, but he also showed himself as having a bad influence over the company.

As founder, Schnatter had a responsibility to represent a good example, and he failed miserably. He tarnished the brand and the company. In addition to his racial slur, Schnatter also attempted to blame the NFL for Papa John’s declining sales, due to the league not being able to control the players’ national anthem protest. Subsequent to Schnatter’s remarks, the NFL has now ended its business relationship. His name has been removed from the Louisville stadium and all marketing material within the stadium.

According to Bloomberg, immediately following Schnatter’s remarks, CEO Steve Ritchie issued an apology to the entire 120,000 corporate store associates and franchise team members. In his apology, Ritchie stated that racism or any type of racially charged language will not be tolerated in the company. However, there were some people who took the apology as unempathetic and short on decisive action.

Ritchie later released a statement that not only expanded his initial apology, but he went into further detail of the actions that Papa John’s will take going forward. In addition to bringing in external auditors to assess the company’s strengths and weaknesses for diversity, Papa John’s will send its senior management team to engage directly with associates and team members in order to provide a path forward, for inclusiveness. Ritchie also announced that he will personally join in helping the culture through diversity training and inclusion best practices. “I will personally be leading this effort because there is nothing more important for Papa John’s right now. We want to regain your trust, and we will work hard to earn it. I know this will take time,” stated Ritchie. Visit investopedia for more information.

Ritchie has been with Papa John’s for 22 years and has provided the right direction needed at this time. He did not hesitate to correct the situation from the initial apology, which showed his sincerity and compassion about the issue. His actions and leadership are about moving the company forward in order to recover and eventually heal. Know more about their website here.


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