In a move to help improve the company’s recently tainted image, the chief executive officer, Steve Ritchie Papa John’s, came out and publicly apologized for the racist remarks and other actions of the company’s founder, John Schnatter. The public had been surprised after Schnatter commented on the slumping sales of the NFL by blaming them on the organization’s failure to take care of its national anthem protest problem. After his comments, the NFL decided to drop Papa John’s as their official pizza. Unfortunately, this wasn’t the only thing Schnatter had said. He also used a racial slur during a conference call, which caused a baseball stadium in Louisville to remove his name. His image was also taken off of any marketing or pizza boxes used by the baseball association.
Steve Ritchie announced to the public that he was deeply disturbed by John Schnatter’s comments and admitted that he found them offensive and hurtful. He was also very clear when he stated that Schnatter’s comments did not reflect his own views or values or the values and views of Papa John’s. He went on to say that future incidences would not be tolerated and that Papa John’s is much more than just its founder. There are over a hundred thousand people working for the company worldwide, and these people come from all kinds of different backgrounds and walks of life.
Steve Ritchie revealed that the company will be auditing itself and ensuring that it kicks up its diversity, cultural, and inclusion practices. He also commented that the company is more than happy being held accountable for its founder’s actions and that he will be personally leading the work that will taking place now. Ritchie’s empathy and vulnerability have been received very well by the public, and he was very wise to distance himself from John Schnatter. The media also found it wise that Steve Ritchie had addressed specific courses of action that the company would be taking. Many are perceiving his apology as legitimate and believe that it is a good place to begin a rebuilding effort of the company’s image.
More info about Ritchie’s second letter of apology: https://www.inc.com/scott-mautz/papa-johns-ceo-just-apologized-to-customers-twice-his-second-letter-shows-smart-leadership.html