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"Papa John" Schnatter to leave board of company he founded

Papa John's has reached a settlement agreement with its founder, John Schnatter, that will see him step down from the pizza chain's board. 

Schnatter will leave once an independent director that is mutually acceptable replaces him, according to a securities filing. If a new director isn't named prior to Papa John's 2019 annual shareholders meeting, Schnatter's term will expire at the meeting, according to the filing.

Schnatter will also withdraw a lawsuit in which he accused the Louisville-based company of not giving him information he wanted after he resigned as chairman.

Last month Papa John's International Inc. tapped the CEO of activist investment firm Starboard Value to become its chairman. Starboard CEO Jeff Smith was the chairman of the board at Darden Restaurants, which owns the Olive Garden chain, from 2014 to 2016. Papa John's brought Starboard on board in part to help engineer its turnaround efforts.

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Papa John's, which was founded in 1984, has been floundering after a series of missteps by Schnatter. In 2017, he blamed disappointing sales on NFL player protests against police violence. He also used a racial slur during a company conference call last year. Schnatter stepped down as CEO in late 2017 and resigned as chairman last July