John Schnatter, the founder of pizza chain Papa John’s, resigned as its chairman on Wednesday night. Earlier in the day, Forbes reported that Schnatter made offensive remarks, including the use of the N-word, during a conference call in May.
In a news release, the company said Olivia Kirtley will serve as a lead independent director. Papa John’s will appoint a new chairman in the coming weeks.
The Papa John’s founder also resigned from the University of Louisville board of trustees Wednesday following the Forbes report that he used the N-word and made other remarks deemed offensive in a May conference call.
In a statement issued earlier on Wednesday, Mr. Schnatter apologized for his actions.
Mr. Schnatter stepped down as chief executive of Louisville, Ky.-based Papa John’s last year over his remarks on football players taking a knee during the national anthem.
Mr. Schnatter founded Papa John’s in 1984 and turned it into a 3,400-unit chain in North America, with a further 1,600 outlets overseas. He stepped down as CEO once before, in 2005, after a multiyear sales slump and returned three years later after product quality began to slip, the company said. In 2010, he shared the CEO job with another executive, before assuming the sole CEO position again a year later.