John Schnatter, founder of Papa John's, to step down as CEO of company

Posted at 5:13 PM, Dec 21, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-21 17:41:22-05

John Schnatter, the founder of pizza delivery giant Papa John's, is stepping down as the CEO of his company, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Schnatter will reportedly remain with Papa John's as the company's chairman. Steve Ritchie, formally the company's COO, will be installed as CEO in January.

The move comes just months after Schnatter blamed national anthem protests by NFL players for falling pizza sales during a call to shareholders. Papa John's is a major sponsor of the NFL, and Schnatter claimed the company's relationship with the league caused angry fans to boycott the chain.

Weeks later, after neo-Nazi website The Daily Stormer declared Papa John's "the official pizza of the alt-right," the company issued a statement asking members of hate groups to not buy its pizza.

It's not clear if Schnatter's resignation is directly related to his comments about the NFL. Ritchie did not offer comment on Schnatter's thoughts on the NFL in his interview with the Wall Street Journal.

More on this as it develops.