Former NBA Star Shaquille O'Neal Joins Papa John's Board

Former NBA Star Shaquille O'Neal Joins Papa John's Board

Former NBA Star Shaquille O'Neal Joins Papa John's Board

Papa John's is already seeing a return.

According to Fortune, O'Neal will earn around $8.25 million over three years for the endorsement agreement.

It's his first time as a board member for a public company.

Papa John's stock rose about 5% on the announcement. Papa John's will own the remaining stake.

Papa John's has found its next spokesman: Shaquille O'Neal.

Shaquille O'Neal will appear in Papa John's commercials as the company attempts to fix its image following the dismissal of founder John Schnatter.

"We want to create a culture to let everybody know that they're loved, accepted and wanted", O'Neal said. In addition, he is the founder and owner of Big Chicken, a fast casual fried chicken restaurant in Las Vegas, and Shaquille's, a fine dining restaurant in Los Angeles.

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A four-time National Basketball Association champion and current analyst for "Inside the NBA" on TNT, O'Neal also owns a Krispy Kreme Doughnuts franchise in Atlanta and previously owned 27 Five Guys Burgers and Fries franchises, according to Papa John's.

"Shaquille has an excellent entrepreneurial background, including as a restaurant franchise owner, and is a natural creative marketer", said Jeff Smith, chairman of Papa John's board of directors.

Papa John's CEO Steve Ritchie said in the release: "Shaquille understands how to build lasting connections with consumers and energize employees".

Since then, North American sales have slumped both from fallout from Schnatter's comments and a separate controversy: Over the summer, news broke that Schnatter had used a racial slur during a conference call.

"This is a triple-threat opportunity for me", O'Neal said.

Schnatter later accused the company's board of directors of botching its investigation of the incident - and expressed regrets about resigning.

Papa John's could use O'Neal's popularity, as well as his business acumen. "Papa John's is no different, and it struck a chord with me that the company is putting in the work to do better within its walls and in the communities it serves across the country".

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