Papa Johns will be without it’s Papa as the company’s CEO as the face of the delivery pizza giant announced he would step down Thursday.
The company’s current president, Steve Ritchie, will replace him.
The decision comes just week after John Schnatter blamed the NFL’s anthem protests and the league’s inability to diffuse the situation for the company’s struggling pizza sales.
The protests by a large number of NFL players included kneeling during the playing of the National Anthem to raise awareness of racial injustice and police brutality.
Papa Johns is one of the NFL’s title sponsors, buying the rights to be the official pizza of the NFL years ago as well as airing numerous commercials with it’s star players.
Schnatter’s criticism quickly turned into a public relations nightmare, igniting a right wing backlash.
“Leadership starts at the top, and this is an example of poor leadership,” Schnatter said as the decision soon being apparent as a bad one.
Schnatter, who owns about a quarter of the company will stay on in a chairman role, after he officially steps down at the start of 2018, the second time he’s resigned as Chief Executive Officer in 20 years.
The company says Papa John will “pursue his personal passion for entrepreneurship, leadership development, and education.”