Papa John's founder John Schnatter will be removed from the pizza chain's branding after his use of the N-word forced his exit from the company.
Schnatter, who was a longtime visible presence in Papa John's commercial campaigns, admitted to making a racial slur during a company conference call in May. The person was not aware of any plans to change the pizza chain's name.
According to a report published by The Associated Press on Friday, the pizza chain confirmed that it will be pulling Schnatter's face from advertisements as the company moves to publicly distance itself from its founder following reports on Wednesday that he used the N-word during a conference call in May.
Mr Schnatter quit as chief executive past year after criticising the NFL over players' national anthem protests.
Schnatter remains on the board, and is still the company's largest shareholder with almost 30 percent of the stock.
"News reports attributing the use of inappropriate and hurtful language to me during a media training session regarding race are true", he said. The promotion allowed baseball fans to get 40 percent off their order at Papa John's the day after any player hit a grand slam by using an online coupon code. The University of Louisville also said Schnatter resigned from its board of trustees, and that the school will evaluate the naming arrangement for Papa John's Cardinal Stadium, according to the Louisville Courier-Journal.
Papa John's is the world's third-largest pizza chain, with more than 350 outlets in the United Kingdom and 4,900 restaurants worldwide. The company can not afford to alienate customers, with sales already under pressure from rivals such as Domino's.
PHOTO: In this file photo, John H. Schnatter, Founder, Chairman & CEO of Papa John's International, Inc. rings the NASDAQ Opening Bell at NASDAQ MarketSite, Jan. 31, 2014, in New York City.