Papa John’s scores Shaq to help revive its image

NBA legend Shaquille O'Neal attends the grand opening of Shaquille's At L.A. Live

NBA legend Shaquille O'Neal attends the grand opening of Shaquille's At L.A. Live

Shaquille O'Neal will join the board of Papa John's, making him the first African-American director at a company still suffering from its founder's various scandals.

As Papa John's continues to rebrand itself, six new directors have been added to the Board of Directors in 2019.

A followup investigative report from Forbes in 2018 alleged more misconduct, accusing Schnatter of fostering a "bro" culture at Papa John's, where women were often the target of sexual harassment.

O'Neal, an NBA Hall of Famer and actor who has been putting money into restaurants for years, will also invest in nine Papa John's pizza locations around his hometown of Atlanta, according to a company press release.

"We are working through diversity not only on the board, but also the leadership team, franchise base and supplier base", Ritchie said.

Papa John's CEO, Steve Ritchie, echoes those sentiments. He is expected to invest about US$840,000 of the US$2.8 million anticipated acquisition costs for the restaurants, Papa John's said in a filing.

Syrian gov't condemns Trump statement concerning Israeli sovereignty in Golan
The news comes following Trump's tweet that the U.S. could recognise the contested Golan Heights region as a part of Israel. Syria insists the part of the Golan held by Israel remains occupied territory and has demanded its return.

Social media had some amusing reactions to the news.

O'Neal isn't new to the food business, he now owns a Krispy Kreme Doughnuts franchise in Atlanta and he's the founder and owner of Big Chicken, a fast casual fried chicken restaurant in Las Vegas, Nevada, and Shaquille's, a fine dining restaurant in Los Angeles, California.

As noted, Shaq has plenty of experience in the food business.

Asked if the pizza firm could be renamed "Papa Shaq" in his name, he laughed and said there would be a new item on the menu: "Shaqaroni". Because Schnatter served as the face of the brand for years in commercials and on marketing materials, the company also worked to scrub his likeness from the nation-wide franchise. Shares of the company rose more than 5 percent in morning trading Friday.

The pizza chain's sales slumped in recent quarters after Schnatter admitted to using a racial slur during a conference call with marketing executives last summer.

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