Steve Ritchie’s lengthy professional career at Papa John’s is a profound example of how hard work and devotion are essential on the path to success. Ritchie joined the team at Papa John’s International Inc. in 1996. At that time, he worked as a customer service representative and earned $6 per hour. Recently, he has been named the company’s Chief Executive Officer.
In the four years following Steve Ritchie’s initial position in the company, he rose through the ranks by serving as Assistant Manager, General Manager and Training General Manager. Notably, Ritchie is not unique in this initial career path. According to Papa John’s, approximately 98 percent of its managers are promoted from within. However, from that point, Ritchie’s career took a more substantial turn.
Between 2000 and 2006, he held higher-level positions as Area Supervisor and Director of Operations. Between 2006 and 2010, he ventured out on his own by purchasing and running his own Papa John’s franchises in Kentucky, Illinois and Indiana. From 2010 through the end of 2017, Steve Ritchie held progressively advanced positions as the Vice President of Global OST, the Senior Vice President of Corporate Operations and Global OST, the Senior Vice President of North American Operations, the Senior Vice President of North American and Latin American Operations, the Senior Vice President of Global Operations and Global OST, President and Chief Operating Officer.
Most recently, he reached the pinnacle of his 23-year career with Papa John’s by being named President and Chief Executive Officer in January 2018. The position was vacated by Tony Thomson, who is now the President and Chief Executive Officer at Krispy Kreme Doughnuts Inc. Notably, Steve Ritchie does not have a college degree. He has attained all of his professional knowledge through hands-on training and personal experiences in the field. Steve Ritchie managed his first Papa John’s location when he was 21 years old. He is now one of the younger CEO’s of major corporations in the United States. At 38 years old, he heads all Papa John’s stores worldwide.
Today, Papa John’s International, Inc. ranks third in a list of the largest pizza delivery companies in the world. In addition, the company has been at the top of the list for 16 out of the last 18 years in the American Customer Satisfaction Index. The company operates 5,000 stores in markets around the world, and it currently has approximately 120,000 employees.
After accepting the lead position in the company, Steve Ritchie drafted a letter that was relayed to all employees, he reaffirmed the company’s stance that the quality of employees and their dedication were critical to the company’s success. He also placed himself as an example of what other team members may achieve if they work diligently on a daily basis. In addition to maintaining a solid focus on valued team members, he intends to focus on the evolution of Papa John’s in the areas of customer service, the customer’s digital experience and brand marketing. With more than 60 percent of sales worldwide generated digitally, Ritchie believes that focusing on this area is essential to the company’s future profitability and success.
Steve Ritchie understands Papa John’s operations intimately through the many hats that he has worn over the last several decades and across different rungs of the corporate ladder. His appointment to the top role in the company departs from the typical hiring process for a CEO in a major publicly traded company, and this departure from the norm brings fresh energy to the company as well as unique insights at the uppermost level of the organization.