John Schnatter, "Papa" of Papa John's International (PZZA) stepped down as the chairman of the company's board on July 12, 2018. This came after Forbes reported a day earlier that Schnatter used a racial slur while on a call with marketing agency Laundry Service. The call was a role-playing exercise intended to prevent future public-relations slip-ups after his earlier comments about the NFL. The company is yet to announce Schnatter's replacement.
Last year, Schnatter's controversial remarks about the NFL and the anthem protests resulted in his departure from the company CEO position. Papa John's ended its partnership with the NFL after the anthem protest controversy, though its partnerships with 22 of the individual teams remain.
Here are the top four individual shareholders in Papa John's International.
John H. Schnatter
The public face of Papa John's started his company in a closet of his father's tavern in Jeffersonville, Indiana. A 23-year-old Schnatter sold his 1971 Chevy Camaro to pay for pizza equipment. Schnatter's pizzas became a cheesy hit and he quickly earned enough money to move to the location next door.
The company rapidly expanded in the 1980s and 1990s, with Schnatter at the helm the whole time. The company has, as of January 2017, 5,097 Papa John's locations, both company-owned and franchised. The company went public under the ticker PZZA in 1993. Schnatter currently owns 7,056 restricted stock units (RSU) and 463,879 options as of March 12, 2018, making him the largest shareholder. These numbers may be subject to change after Schnatter's resignation as the company's chairman.
Steve M. Ritchie
Steve M. Ritchie has been CEO of Papa John's since January 1, 2018 and has been its president since July 30, 2015. Ritchie was senior vice president of the company from May 2013 to July 30, 2015 and was its Chief Operating Officer (COO) from May 2014 until December 2017. Since 2006, he also served as a Franchise Owner and Operator of Multiple Units at Papa John's International Inc.’s Midwest Division. As of March 12, 2018, he holds 26, 872 RSU and 64,074 options.
Olivia F. Kirtley
Olivia F. Kirtley is the lead independent director at Papa John's. In addition to her duties at Papa John's, Kirtley has a storied history in accounting, having served as the president of The International Federation of Accountants. Elected in Rome, her first job as president was to address Pope Francis in Italian. Kirtley owns 189,816 shares as of May 25, 2018 and 26,783 options as of March 12, 2018, making her the third-largest shareholder.
W. Kent Taylor
Kent Taylor was appointed to the Board of Directors in May, 2011. Taylor is the founder and CEO of Texas Roadhouse, Inc. a full-service, casual dining restaurant chain with locations across the U.S. and in several foreign countries. As of Mach 12, 2018, Taylor owns 883 RSU. He also has 25,551 options, making him the fourth-largest individual shareholder.
Top Institutional Owners
The top institutional owner of Papa John's, as of March 2018, is Eminence Capital LLC, with 2.73 million shares of PZZA, accounting for 8.48% of all shares. Eminence Capital is followed by Vanguard Group, Inc., with 2.1 million shares, or 6.53% of the company.