Papa John's to pick Arby's President Rob Lynch as new CEO: report

Papa John’s to pick Arby’s President Rob Lynch as new CEO: report


Papa John’s has reportedly settled on Arby’s President Rob Lynch as its new chief executive officer.

Citing a person with knowledge of the matter, Bloomberg first reported Monday night that Lynch will replace Steve Ritchie as CEO of the Louisville-based pizza chain.

The reported move would represent the latest shakeup for the country’s third-largest pizza delivery company, which has battled to improve its image and financial stock since summer 2018, when founder John Schnatter admitted using a racial slur during a media-training session.

Spokespeople for Papa John’s and Arby’s did not immediately respond to requests for comment Tuesday morning.

Schnatter, the longtime face of Papa John’s and its ad campaigns, was subsequently stripped of his chairmanship of the company’s board of directors and also lost his multi-million-dollar endorsement contract.

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Sales plummeted last year, with Papa John’s seeing a decline of $72 million in net income and closing nearly 190 stores in 2018.

The latest management shakeup at Papa John’s will be made as soon as Tuesday, Bloomberg reported.

Lynch has served as president of Arby’s since 2017. The Atlanta-based fast food restaurant chain, known for its roast beef sandwiches, has more than 3,300 locations around the world.

Lynch joined Arby’s in 2013 as its chief marketing officer. He has also worked for Proctor & Gamble Co. and for Louisville-based Yum Brands as vice president of brand marketing for Taco Bell.

Also: A timeline of the Papa John’s scandal, from the slur to the settlement

Ritchie took over as Papa John’s CEO in January 2018, when Schnatter stepped down from the role.

Schnatter has been trimming his stake in Papa John’s shares in recent months. Last week, he earned more than $30 million after selling more than 700,000 shares. 

As part of efforts to rejuvenate its image and profits, Papa John’s announced in March that NBA Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal was becoming its new brand ambassador. 

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This story will be updated.

Reach Billy Kobin at bkobin@courierjournal.com.



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