“The company is currently in discussions with a number of potential office locations throughout the Metro Atlanta area and expects to complete the selection process" this year, Papa John’s said in a statement..
Menu innovation, marketing, customer experience, human resources, diversity, equity and inclusion, communications, and development functions will be located in the new headquarters, the company said.
IT, supply chain, and legal teams will stay in Louisville. Papa John’s also has a headquarters outside London, where its international operations are managed.
The new HQ is “a key element of a broader reorganization of corporate functions, reflecting the company’s ongoing transformation into a brand and culture that can effectively and efficiently deliver on the company’s purpose, values and strategic business priorities,” Papa John’s said.
“The opening of the new Atlanta location and related organizational changes are expected to be completed by the summer of 2021 and do not affect Papa John’s company-owned or franchised stores or its nationwide network of quality control centers,” the company said.
The effort further distances the pizza chain from the company’s founder, John Schnatter, who became a prominent figure in Louisville.
Schnatter founded Papa John's Pizza in 1984. He stepped down as CEO in 2018 after saying the NFL, then a Papa John’s partner, didn’t do enough to prevent its players from protesting the national anthem. He exited as chairman after uttering a racial slur.
Analysts attribute some of the company's success to its affiliation with National Basketball Association star Shaquille O'Neal, who is a spokesman for Papa John's, sits on the board and has a stake in some Atlanta-area stores, the Louisville Courier-Journal reports.
Papa John’s recently traded at $83.99, down 0.68%, and has jumped 33% year to date.