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Shaq is the New Face of Papa John’s


Papa John’s, a pizza chain company, introduced Shaquille O’Neal as their newest board member and new brand ambassador to the public. The new face of Papa John’s aims to regain and to improve the image of the pizza chain in the United States.

Shaquille O’Neal, commonly known as Shaq, is a former basketball player and one of the greatest in the National Basketball Association (NBA). Shaq received multiple awards including Most Valuable Player awards and Rookie of the Year award. He now works as a sports analyst on a television program after his retirement. Aside from this, he released four rap albums and appeared on different films and television shows.

O’Neal started his relationship with Papa John’s pizza company back when he was still a basketball player. He continuously supported and invested in the restaurant chains during his league days. Aside from spending in Papa John’s, he owns a different food franchise like Krispy Kreme and a restaurant called ‘Shaquille’s.’ The relationship between Shaq and Papa John’s blossomed when he approached the company to spearhead change in the pizza chain.

O’Neal replaced John Schnatter, the founder of the company, due to his scandal. The scandalous moments of Schnatter and his statement that said that “NFL’s leadership caused poor pizza sales” resulted in an enormous loss in sales. Schnatter’s remarks caused the company to remove his influence in marketing materials and pizza boxes.

Schnatter stepped down as the company’s chairman after giving racist remarks during a conference call. Furthermore, the company agreed with Schnatter about some terms for him to step down. This agreement includes finding a new director or chairman that isn’t affiliated with him or with Starboard value.

Nonetheless, Schnatter’s term will expire in April, which gives him no choice but to step down from the position. There are no remarks and comments from Schnatter’s representatives.

The loss of Schnatter and the stepping up of O’Neal improves the image and the sales of the pizza company. The improvement is not a surprising result since consumers often see O’Neal, some of the company’s commercial.

The addition of O’Neal as a board member doesn’t shock customers, but instead, sales are moving. The company’s stock increased by five percent.

According to Steve Ritchie, CEO, adding O’Neal focuses them on what to do for the company. After the recent situation, shares started to increase again. The stock in the market shows improvement from being down 12 percent from last year’s value.

O’Neal will hold thirty percent of the stock while Papa John’s will shoulder the remaining seventy percent.

The chairman of Reputation Management Consultant, Erik Schiffer, stated that the addition of O’Neal would change the fate of the company in two years. He also added that the reputation to millennials and African Americans of O’Neal would be a factor.

On the other hand, O’Neal wanted to diversify leadership roles and to bring opportunities to the African American community. Leadership roles are showing diversity by the recent addition of different CEO from various companies.

With the help of new board members, directors, and Shaq, the company wants to bounce back and improve its image. The company is planning to release six new pizza flavors with “better ingredients’.  These new products will spearhead the comeback of Papa John’s.

The continuous creation of pizza products and the diversification of leadership roles will allow the company to increase its sale. Furthermore, the pizza chain hopes to bring back its lovely image to the market after its scandalous moments.