In an open letter released late Friday, CEO Steve Ritchie addresses the recent controversy surrounding founder John Schnatter's use of a racial slur.
Ritchie also lays out how the company plans to move forward in the short term.
Open Letter From The CEO
The Board of Directors of Papa John’s accepted Mr. Schnatter’s resignation as Chairman of the Board earlier this week. It has also been decided he will no longer be in any of the advertising or marketing materials associated with the brand.
This decision is the first of several key steps to rebuild trust from the inside-out. We will be engaging a broad set of stakeholders to chart a course forward that demonstrates our commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.
First, we will identify and retain an independent and outside expert to audit all of our existing processes, policies and systems related to diversity and inclusion, supplier engagement and Papa John’s culture. As part of that process, we will establish a process for communicating progress against transparent goals to everyone in our Papa John’s family.
The entire senior management team will also be visiting key locations across the country and hold listening sessions with employees in our stores to talk about what they are seeing and give them a platform to voice their concerns. To follow-up, we will initiate two-way conversations to invite ongoing feedback from employees and franchisees to ensure that their voices are heard.
I will personally be leading this effort because there is nothing more important for Papa John’s right now. We want to regain trust, though I know we need to earn it. We will demonstrate that a diverse and inclusive culture exists at Papa John’s through our deeds and actions.
Steve Ritchie | CEO Papa John's, International