Papa John's is distancing itself from its controversial founder, but he still has a stake worth more than $500 million in the company

  • Papa John’s disgraced founder, John Schnatter, still owns a roughly $US510 million stake in the pizza chain.
  • Schnatter resigned as chairman last week after news broke that he had used the N-word in a conference call.
  • Schnatter is known for his life of luxury, residing in a $US11.2 million mansion and reportedly often making his five-mile commute to work via helicopter.

While Papa John’s is trying to distance the company from its controversial founder, John Schnatter still has a lot of money banking on the pizza chain’s success.

Schnatter, Papa John’s founder and former CEO, stepped down as chairman of the company on July 11, after he had admitted to using the N-word in a company conference call in May. Since then, Papa John’s has removed Schnatter’s face from the company’s logo and marketing materials, eventually terminating his access to the company offices.

Despite this, Schnatter remains on the board and continues to own roughly 30% of the company. Schnatter’s stake is worth about $US510 million.

When Papa John’s shares shot up by as much as 6% on Wednesday, following the news that Schnatter had held talks about a merger between the pizza chain and Wendy’s, his net worth skyrocketed by millions of dollars. And, when shares dropped following Forbes’ initial report of the conference call, he lost millions.

This isn’t the first time that Papa John’s stock has taken a hit based on Schnatter’s comments.

In November, Schnatter sparked a scandal when he blamed NFL leadership for failing to resolve the controversy over players protesting during the national anthem. As Papa John’s shares slumped, Forbes reported that Schnatter’s net worth dropped $US70 million in a single day.

Schnatter is known for his life of luxury in a Louisville, Kentucky suburb. He lives in a $US11.2 million mansion and often travels the five miles to work via helicopter, the Louisville Courier Journal reports. Schnatter also owns a Citation 750, the fastest business jet in the world, and condos in Naples, Florida, and Deer Valley, Utah, costing millions of dollars.

Schnatter, who made $US3.5 million annually when he was CEO at Papa John’s, has spoken out against overpaid executives in the past.

“It’s an immoral arrangement. It’s wrong,” Schnatter told Business Insider in 2017. “And that’s why corporate America has got a bad name.”

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