Papa John’s President and Chief Executive Officer Steve Ritchie was happy that former NBA star Shaquille O’Neal is now on his company’s board of directors. Shaq also signed a deal worth $8.25 million and will now be the Papa John’s brand ambassador.
Steve Ritchie said that Shaquille O’Neal was asked to join Papa John’s because he has great business acumen and knows how to excite both consumers and employees. Shaq is the first African-American to join Papa John’s board. Shaquille said that he wants to help the company achieve great things.
Steve Ritchie said that Papa John’s will soon sign a three-year marketing agreement with Shaquille. Papa John’s is the third biggest pizza chain in the world and now has over 5000 locations and about 120,000 employees. 1,200 of these employees work at the Louisville headquarters.
The $8.25 million endorsement deal will be paid half in cash and half in Papa John’s stock. O’Neal will start appearing in Papa John’s advertising later this year, Steve Ritchie said.
Steve Ritchie says that he first met Shaq during Super Bowl weekend when he was at a party Shaquille held in Atlanta, Georgia. He wanted a new board member that would add diversity, has experience in the restaurant industry, and was passionate about entrepreneurship.
The focus for the new Papa John’s board member, Steve Ritchie said, was having someone that would offer diversity and inclusion. He said that in the last year the board went from just one woman to five and two of the new members are African-American.
In a statement, Shaquille O’Neal stated that he loves Papa John’s pizza and wants to help it build a better culture. Papa John’s Steve Ritchie said that having Shaq on board was great for his company and shows that they’ve got great people at this company.
Steve Ritchie has been a part of Papa Johns’ since 1996. He worked his way up from being a customer service rep to president and CEO through hard work and learning everything possible about the restaurant industry and Papa John’s in particular.
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