Papa John's founder John Schnatter

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Louisville-based Papa John’s International further distanced itself from company founder John Schnatter on Monday following Schnatter’s admitted use of racial language.

A special committee of the Papa John’s board of directors terminated Schnatter’s “founder” agreement with the company and a sublease under which Schnatter rents office space at the company’s headquarters in Jeffersontown, the company disclosed in a regulatory filing.

Schnatter resigned as chairman of the board last week after admitting he used N-word on a conference call in May. He also resigned from the U of L board of trustees, and the university decided to remove the company's name from what had been Papa John's Cardinal Stadium.

The founder agreement, which dates to 2007, defines on Schnatter’s special role with the company, including “attending major corporate events, making visits to domestic and international franchises, participating in monthly quality meetings with management, participating in meetings with investors, and acting as advertising and brand spokesperson.”

Papa John's announced Friday it would remove Schnatter's image from its marketing materials.

Schnatter receives about $300,000 a year in stock options under the founder agreement, according the company’s most recent annual proxy statement.

Schnatter maintains an expansive office suite on the top floor of the company’s headquarters building in Jeffersontown. The office sublease will end in 90 days, the company said.

The special committee also requested that Schnatter refrain from talking to the media, the company said in a statement.

Schnatter remains on the company's board and continues to be its single-largest shareholder, with about 30 percent of the company's outstanding stock.

A review of the Papa John’s website shows the company has scrubbed Schnatter’s name and images from the site, though it’s unclear exactly when the changes took place.

A page called “Our Pizza Family” including a picture of Schnatter with employees, which was was online as of May 31, is no longer there.

The site’s “About Us” section also no longer includes a section called “Our Story” which described Schnatter’s founding of the company in Jeffersonville, Indiana in the mid-1980s.

Related stories: 

Reach reporter Chris Otts at 502-585-0822,, on Twitter or on Facebook. Copyright 2018 WDRB News. All rights reserved.

Digital Reporter

Chris Otts reports for about business and economic topics, higher education and local / state government. He joined WDRB News in 2013 after seven years with The Courier-Journal. Got a tip? Chris is at 502-585-0822 and