Papa John's founder John Schnatter responds to pizza chain's Atlanta move

'I'm concerned that the relationship won't be the same as it was for three successful decades'

The former big cheese of Papa John’s is weighing in on the pizza chain moving part of its business.

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John Schnatter, the now-billionaire who founded Papa John’s in a Louisville, Ky., suburb, said Thursday he’s disappointed by the chain's decision to move the company’s headquarters to Atlanta, along with 200 of its employees, the Courier-Journal reported.

John Schnatter, the founder of Papa John's says he's "saddened" by the chain's decision to move part of its business to Atlanta. (Photo by Steven Ferdman/Getty Images)

"I am saddened to learn that the company has now decided to locate their global headquarters in Atlanta,” Schnatter told the Courier-Journal in a statement. "Despite pledging to maintain a company presence in Louisville, I’m concerned that the relationship won’t be the same as it was for three successful decades."

Schnatter last November sold 1.9 million shares, totaling around $107.5 million, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing.

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
PZZAPAPA JOHNS INTL76.60+0.18+0.24%

The former CEO of the company came under fire in Nov. 2017 when he blamed the company’s sluggish sales on low NFL viewings, and then in May 2018, when he used a racial slur during a meeting with a marketing firm, to discuss ways to prevent future controversies.

Schnatter later claimed he was pushed to use the slur during a training exercise.

PAPA JOHN WANTS TO FIX PAPA JOHN'S 

Papa John’s employees whose jobs are moving to Atlanta will have the option to relocate closer to the new headquarters or take a voluntary severance package, according to the Courier-Journal.

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The move is slated to be complete by summer 2021.