Steve Ritchie, the CEO, wrote a letter to the customers apologizing for the former CEO’s offensive words. He said they do not reflect the company’s values or his personal views. The company will not tolerate any insensitive or racist language. He explained that the company is not an individual person, but a group made of 120,000 corporate and franchise team members. These people are members of their communities who work as local owners and operators. Experts are going to be brought in to audit the company’s culture, diversity, and inclusion practices. Goals will then be set based on their findings. The senior management team is hitting the road to ask employees and franchisees what steps need to be taken to get the company back on the right path. The company will be transparent and Steve Ritchie Papa Johns will lead this effort. The company wants to earn respect from the customers and thank all those who choose to remain loyal to Papa John’s.
Papa John’s website had another letter written by Steve Ritchie before this one that had less of a sense of compassion and direct apology. Steve realized that he made the error and corrected the problem in his second letter addressed to the customers directly. This letter showed vulnerability and a commitment to end such behaviors. He wisely stated that his personal opinions were far removed from the previous CEO’s views and that the company is more than just one individual. He also mentioned that his employees were hard working people who were a part of their community. He has promised to lead the effort and mentioned actions that will be taken in the company.
Steve Ritchie’s letter seemed to be an honest attempt to start the recovery process. This will hopefully be a good step in the right direction for Papa John’s, since they have plenty of competitors. See his latest status update on Twitter.