Good morning everyone, and welcome to today’s installment of As The Pizza Box Turns. In a surprising turn of events, the continuing Papa John’s saga—which kicked off with chain founder John Schnatter using a racial slur in a marketing call over the summer, then his stepping down as board chair, then his regretting that action—appears to possibly be at an end. QSR Magazine reports today that “The 5,000-plus unit pizza chain and Schnatter agreed to a separation plan, according to a securities filing Tuesday, where Schnatter will leave the company’s board in exchange for having a say in naming his replacement.” The important thing is for you not to blame yourself, as this pizza chain and its founder both love you very much, they just don’t love each other any more. The resolution also dismisses two other legal disputes between Papa John and Papa John’s.
While no candidates have been put forward yet to take on the considerable challenge of the rebranding Papa John’s—which has already begun with a considerable helping hand from investment firm Starboard—“the settlement calls for Schnatter and new executive chairman Jeffrey Smith to agree on an independent director to serve in his place.” This strikes us as some kind of Lion King dynasty shenanigans: What if Schnatter just puts in a mole who will still report directly back to him? But now that this separation appears to be final, we can only hope that Schnatter will just go home and just take a long-overdue nap on his giant piles of money, and leave the courts (and his old company) alone for a while.