Papa John’s founder John Schnatter has done anything but take being ousted from the company for racist remarks, sitting down. He also has been very vocal about the company’s poor performance.
In a letter, Schnatter has claimed that Chief Executive Officer Steve Ritchie is at fault for how badly the company is doing. “The source of the company’s poor performance is rot at the top,” Schnatter wrote.
Schnatter, who addressed the letter to franchises, wrote that, “bad financial decisions, insufficient management skills to correct them, a toxic senior management culture, and serious misconduct at the top levels of our leadership” were behind him being ousted from being chairman of the company.
Papa John’s responded to the letter and said that Schnatter was “making untrue and disparaging statements in a self-serving attempt to distract from the damaging impact his own words and actions have had on the Company and our stakeholders.”
According to Schnatter, he had discussed the CEO’s poor performance with the company’s board and the board had agreed, asking Schnatter to be executive chairman.
Schnatter also claimed that the company’s human resources department has “detailed evidence of sexual misconduct, harassment and intimidation by virtually everyone in (Ritchie’s) inner circle.”
“Right now, he’s blaming me,” said Schnatter to the franchisees. “Tomorrow, it might be you. It will never, however, be (Ritchie’s) responsibility.”
“Once again, John Schnatter is making untrue and disparaging statements in a self-serving attempt to distract from the damaging impact his own words and actions have had on the Company and our stakeholders,” a Papa Johns spokeswoman told CNBC.
“At no time has the Board asked John Schnatter to become Executive Chairman. In fact, the company has taken multiple steps to separate itself from him. John Schnatter also publicly supported Steve Ritchie’s appointment as CEO at the end of last year,” she said,
Schnatter is also suing the pizza chain. “Instead of standing behind the founder and working with news media to explain what actually occurred, the Company followed its usual, and flawed, manner of dealing with false and mistaken reporting as to comments made by Mr. Schnatter,” said the lawsuit obtained by CNBC.
“Rather than address the real issues like the health of the business, the Company is hiding documents that, we believe, will disclose the actual facts as to what is occurring here, including using Mr. Schnatter as a scapegoat to cover up their own shortcomings and failures,” said Schnatter’s attorney Patty Glaser to CNBC.