LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The international law firm of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP will conduct a cultural audit and investigation of Papa John’s International Inc. A special committee consisting of all independent directors of the board appointed the firm to explore existing processes, policies and systems related to diversity and inclusion, supplier and vendor engagement and Papa John’s company culture.
The audit is another step in the company’s efforts to restore trust within the company and among consumers and franchisees following company founder John Schnatter’s resignation from Papa John’s.
The company noted that members of the special committee that selected Akin Gump are all outside directors, and no current or former Papa John’s employees will serve on that committee.
“We’re focused on creating the right future for Papa John’s,” said Olivia Kirtley, lead independent director of the board and a member of the special committee. “The special committee of the board is committed to this thorough audit and investigation and to taking deliberate actions to rebuild trust at Papa John’s and to ensure that this company is driven by the values of diversity, equity, inclusion and respect.”
Schnatter, who retains a seat on the Papa John’s board and some ownership in the company, announced his resignation as board chairman on July 12 after news reports surfaced that he used a racial slur during a conference call in May. On July 17, the special committee of the Papa John’s board of directors approved and directed the company to terminate Schnatter’s founder agreement and a sublease agreement which enabled Schnatter to use certain office space at the company’s corporate headquarters in Louisville.