John Schnatter Biography
Nick Name: Papa John
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Also Known As: John H. Schnatter
Born in: Jeffersonville, Indiana
Famous as: Founder of Papa John's Pizza
Spouse/Ex-: Annette Schnatter (m. 1987)
father: Robert Schnatter
mother: Mary Beth Ackerson
children: Beau Schnatter, Danielle Schnatter, Kristine Schnatter
U.S. State: Indiana
Founder/Co-Founder: Papa John's Pizza
John H. Schnatter, better known as Papa John, is a noted American entrepreneur. He is best known as the founder and former CEO of the American restaurant franchise company ‘Papa John's Pizza,’ which operates the fourth largest pizza delivery restaurant chain in the US. A business degree holder from ‘Ball State University,’ Schnatter started off by purchasing used pizza equipment with the money he received from selling his car. He then converted a broom closet in the back of his father’s pub ‘Mick's Lounge’ in Jeffersonville where he made pizzas before selling them to the customers of ‘Mick's Lounge.’ With time, his pizzas became quite popular. His company, which was launched publicly in 1993, had 1,500 stores by 1997. Schnatter remained the CEO of the company until January 1, 2018, when he stepped down from the post following comments he had made on ‘NFL’ commissioner Roger Goodell. He had blamed Goodell for doing nothing about the ‘US national anthem protests’ by football players. During his attempt to diffuse the controversy, Schnatter got entangled in a scandal that forced him to resign as the chairman of the board of directors of the company in July 2018.
- John H. Schnatter was born on November 23, 1961, in Jeffersonville, Indiana, US. He was born to Mary Beth Ackerson and Robert Schnatter. John Schnatter is of German descent. His father was a judge, while his mother was a real estate agent.
- In 1980, John’s father became the co-owner of a tavern called ‘Mick's Lounge’ in Jeffersonville, Indiana.
- Schnatter went to ‘Jeffersonville High School.’ After graduating high school, he enrolled at the ‘Ball State University’ in Muncie, Indiana. In 1983, he obtained a business degree from the university.
- In 1984, Schnatter founded ‘Papa John's Pizza.’ He sold his 1971 ‘Z28 Chevrolet Camaro’ and purchased used pizza equipment worth $1,600. He then converted a broom closet in the back of ‘Mick's Lounge’ and started selling pizzas to the customers of the pub. His pizzas gradually became popular, so much so that Schnatter shifted his business to an adjoining space in 1985. In the same year, ‘Papa John's Pizza’ created a dipping sauce specially made for pizzas. The trend of eating pizzas with sauce has since become popular.
- In 1993, ‘Papa John's Pizza’ was launched publicly. It had 500 stores by the end of 1994 and 1,500 stores by 1997. John Schnatter was named ‘National Ernst & Young Retail/Consumer Entrepreneur of The Year’ in 1998.
- In 2000, the ‘National Jaycees Organization’ named him among the ‘Ten Outstanding Young Americans.’ He was inducted into the ‘Junior Achievement U.S. Business Hall of Fame’ in 2007 and into the ‘Kentucky Entrepreneur Hall of Fame’ in 2010. Schnatter also became an honorary initiate of an American social fraternity called ‘Alpha Tau Omega’ in 2012. Schnatter and ‘Papa John's Pizza’ received media attention in 2012 following his comments about the ‘Affordable Care Act.’
- During a conference call with the company’s investors in October 2017, he held the ‘National Football League’ responsible for the poor financial performance of the company. He blamed the ‘NFL’ and its leadership for not resolving the issue of the players who had been protesting against social injustice and racism. He said the protests were affecting the sale of his company’s pizza as ‘Papa John's Pizza’ had marketing deals with 23 individual teams of ‘NFL.’ The company also had an agreement to be the ‘official pizza company’ of ‘National Football League.’ ‘Papa John's Pizza’ later declared that it would remove the ‘NFL’ shield (official sponsor tag) from its commercials and advertising campaigns.
- Because of the controversy that erupted over the comments he made regarding ‘NFL,’ Schnatter made an announcement on December 21, 2017, that he would step down as CEO of ‘Papa John's Pizza.’ He also expressed his annoyance mentioning that ‘NFL’ was not taking any action to stop the football players from protesting.
- On January 1, 2018, the Chief Operating Officer of the company, Steve Richie, replaced Schnatter as the CEO. However, Schnatter was still serving as chairman of the board of directors of the company. The company mentioned that Schnatter, the biggest shareholder of the company with around 9.5 million shares, would continue to appear in commercials and on the pizza boxes of the restaurant chain.
- On July 11, 2018, it was reported that Schnatter had used the ‘N-word’ while on a conference call with marketing agency ‘Laundry Service.’ He had mentioned that Colonel Sanders had used the word and yet never faced public outcry. After the call, the owner of ‘Laundry Service’ had ceased his company’s contract with ‘Papa John's Pizza.’ On July 11, 2018, Schnatter resigned as chairman of the board. Later that day, he also gave up his position on the board of trustees of the ‘University of Louisville.’
- After his resignation, ‘Papa John's Pizza’ prevented him from having access to the company’s business records. This led Schnatter to file a lawsuit against the company on July 26, 2018, so that he can have access to its books and records. The company also came up with a ‘poison pill’ strategy to restrict the possibility of Schnatter buying back a majority stake in the company.
- John H. Schnatter sold his 1971 ‘Chevrolet Camaro’ in 1983 to help his father save his failing business. After helping his father, Schnatter started his pizza business with the leftover money. Decades after selling his car, Schnatter offered $250,000 to the person who helps him locate his car. He finally found the car and repurchased it for $250,000 on August 26, 2009. Though the family, to which he had sold his car, had resold the car, he still paid $25,000 to the family as finders-fee. ‘Papa John's Pizza’ celebrated the occasion by offering a free pizza to anyone who had a ‘Camaro’ at the time. Schnatter’s ‘Camaro’ has found a place in the company’s headquarters where it is kept on display.
- In 1987, Schnatter married a woman named Annette with whom he has three children, namely Danielle, Kristine, and Beau. He lives with his family in Anchorage, Kentucky, US. He is an Evangelical Christian by faith and is a member of the Louisville-based ‘Southeast Christian Church.’
- Schnatter faced stalking and groping accusations in 1999. According to him, the woman involved in the case was actually attempting to extort $5 million from him. Finally, a confidential settlement was reached to end the matter.
- In 2008, he donated $1 million to ‘Louisville Zoo’ located in Louisville, Kentucky. The contribution was made to help the zoological garden expand its ‘Glacier Run.’
- In 2009, he got entangled in a sexual misconduct incident involving a 24-year-old female marketing employee. This matter was also settled confidentially.
- In May 2012, Schnatter hosted a fundraiser at his house for the Republican Party’s nominee Mitt Romney. He also made contributions to Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and made favorable comments about Donald Trump’s administration in January 2017.
- According to sources, his net worth is estimated to be around $1 billion. Also, his hands are insured for $15.3 million.
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