Schnatter sparked controversy in November when he slammed NFL leadership over players' kneeling during the national anthem to protest racial injustice and police brutality.
"At the very least, it was distracting and I'm wondering whether this was board-driven or if it was John's choice", said restaurant consultant John Gordon of the Pacific Management Consulting Group.
Schnatter offered praise for Ritchie, saying "I am so proud of Steve...we couldn't have a more proven leader to guide Papa John's through its next stage of growth".
Ritchie, 43, began his career with the pizza chain in 1996 as a customer service representative and slowly worked his way up, eventually becoming a franchisee owner in 2006.
"This should have been nipped in the bud a year and a half ago", Schnatter said on a conference call with investors.
Isaiah Thomas could make his Cavs debut vs. Celtics
The Cavaliers play the Celtics on January 3, and it has been reported that Thomas wants to be ready to face his old team. He re-aggravated his hip injury during the Celtics' playoff run last season, and has yet to return to the court.
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Al Franken , who announced plans earlier this month to resign his seat, will leave the Senate on January 2, his office said . Until Wednesday afternoon, Franken had not given a specific date for when he will resign.
IL loses population, drops to 6th-largest state
North Carolina did not make the top 10 states for percent growth, though, since it grew less than 1.4 percent from 2016 to 2017. The census said net worldwide migration decreased 1.8 percent between 2016 and 2017, making it the first drop since 2012-2013.
On Nov. 14, the company sent out an I'm-sorry tweet: "The statements made on our earnings call were describing the factors that impact our business and we sincerely apologize to anyone that thought they were divisive".
Schnatter, 56, founded Papa John's more than 30 years ago, turning a broom closet at his father's bar into a pizza spot.
The founder of Papa John's, John Schnatter, on Thursday announced plans to step down. He took a break from being CEO between 2005 and 2008.
"He's in every ad", Gordon said. "We'll see if he steps back from that".
In his 2017 book "Papa: The Story of Papa John's Pizza", Schnatter argued that regulations are steering the United States away from the system of free enterprise he believes is crucial to the nation's success. Schnatter often appears in advertisements during National Football League games, and has credited its close relationship with the National Football League and particularly quarterback Peyton Manning for sales boosts in the past.