Papa John’s is attempting to revamp its image after the debacle with founder and chairman John Schnatter exited under fire July 11. While Schnatter was force out, he didn’t go quietly. He even launched a website to garner support as he attempted to retake control of the company.
Now that Schnatter is out, Papa John’s is going with a new CEO Steve Richtie. Unbelievably, Ritchie started out with Papa John’s 22 years ago as a customer service representative making $6 bucks an hour. By 2006, he owned his own Papa John’s franchise and began moving up the leadership ranks.
By 2010, Ritchie had made his way into upper management. “Steve is a very hard worker who has excelled at every level at Papa John’s. I wish him well in his new role as CEO,” said Schnatter. In his new role as CEO, Ritchie will continue to oversee global operations and expand the company brand.
Papa John’s is one of the only restaurants where management is promoted from hourly workers and delivery drivers.
Ritchie says he is humbled by the opportunity to lead Papa John’s. “It is my intention to continue to lead the company and offer the world class service our customer’s have grown to enjoy,” said Ritchie.
Papa John’s is the 3rd largest pizza franchise behind Pizza Hut and Dominoes. Ritchie says Papa John’s is a good fit for him. He says he fell in love with the brand from the first day he started the job over 20 years ago.
Ritchie understands that the road ahead will be hard. In the wake of the scandal surrounding outgoing CEO Schnatter, Papa John’s will have to work hard to restore its once wholesome image. Ritchie says he is up for the battle.
The public war between Schnatter and the company over who is to blame for the company’s drop in popularity has taken its toll. Ritchie says he hasn’t the time to get bogged down in the negative. “It’s my job to rebuild this company back to its former greatness.”
No one is doubting Ritchie’s skills. “He has the heart and mind to be a great CEO,” says Panera Bread CEO Mike Nettles.