John Schnatter will still front the brand's advertisement.
The most recognized face of Papa John's pizza, John Schnatter, is stepping down from his CEO position in his founding company. The move comes just two months after he criticized the NFL, and the kneeling during the anthem controversy, for the reason his company had a decline in sales.
According to Global News, John will be replaced by Chief Operating Officer Steve Ritchie starting January 1st. John will remain as chairman of the board and will continue to own the biggest share in the company. Earlier this year John blamed the slow sales at his pizza company on the NFL's anthem controversy, surrounding former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick. “The controversy is polarizing the customer, polarizing the country,” he said.
His comments drew in the wrong attention after white supremacists praised him for his words that were seemingly against the NFL protests. The company later issued an apology stating:
"With 120,000 Papa John’s corporate and franchise employees, Steve will put the spotlight on our pizza and the most important ingredient — our team members," John said on the future of his pizza chain. "We couldn’t have a more proven leader to guide Papa John’s through its next stage of growth."