After Papa John’s founder and CEO John Schnatter resigned in 2018, former COO Steve Richie took over as CEO of the pizza franchise. Steve Richie is promising to take the franchise in a new direction. This comes after Schantter’s resignation from board of directors due to a series of insensitive comments made by the founder. Sales at Papa John’s stores around the country have dropped in light of the comments. New CEO Steve Richie plans to repair Papa John’s relationship with the community.
Richie authored an open letter to employees and customers stating that he wanted to ensure that diversity and equality were among the core values of the company. He ensures the public that the leaders of Papa John’s are taking the proper steps that make sure these values are put into practice. The first way to ensure this is to perform an internal audit of the diversity practices of the company. The next step is to make sure the leadership of Papa John’s undergoes unconscious bias training and implements this training in every store across the country. Following this, he will also ensure that more diversity is added to the leadership of Papa John’s. He is also forming a new Papa John’s minority-owned franchise expansion and development program.
The Franchise expansion and development program will help minority and women entrepreneurs open and manage their own Papa John’s franchises. This can increase diversity in the entrepreneurship community and help grow local economies. Steve Riche’s final part of his plan to repair the damaged relationship with the public is to form a new foundation that supports organizations that are helping to promote diversity and inclusion.
Steve Richie has worked for Papa John’s for 22 years, beginning his career in 1996 as a customer service representative. In 2006 he purchased his own Papa John’s store and became a franchise owner. Before becoming the COO of Papa Johns and eventual CEO, Richie worked as a general manager, area supervisor, vice president, and director of operations for the company.