Two months after blaming the NFL for lackluster sales, Papa John's founder and CEO John Schnatter will step down.
He will be replaced on Jan. 1 by Chief Operating Officer Steve Ritchie, who did not say if Schnatter's comments and the backlash he received had anything to do with his resignation. Schnatter, who founded Papa John's more than 30 years ago, told analysts during a conference call in late October that the way the NFL was handling national anthem protests "hurt Papa John's shareholders. This should have been nipped in the bud a year and a half ago."
Papa John's is an NFL sponsor and advertiser, and the company later apologized for his remarks. Schnatter has long appeared in the company's advertisements, and Ritchie said Papa John's will decide next year if he'll stay on as spokesman. Catherine Garcia