John Schnatter
Source: Getty

John Schnatter, founder of Papa John's, is worth at least half a billion thanks to his pizza empire.

What's Papa John's Founder John Schnatter's Net Worth?

By

Nov. 4 2021, Published 10:10 a.m. ET

Among the top names in fast-food pizza chains in the U.S., Papa John’s is certainly included. The company’s founder, John Schnatter, says his story is one of the true “American Dream.” How wealthy is the ousted CEO several years after racial comments pushed him out of company leadership?

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John Schnatter

Entrepreneur, Founder and Former CEO of Papa John's International

Net worth: $500 million

John Schnatter is the 59-year-old founder of Papa John’s International, a popular pizza restaurant chain that went public in 1993. He grew the chain from a single store started in the back of Mick’s Lounge in 1984 to 5,400 locations by 2020. As the face of the company, his net worth reached $1 billion in 2017, according to Forbes. He stepped down as CEO in late 2017 after word leaked of his use of a racial slur on a corporate call.

What happened to the Papa John’s founder?

Schnatter started his company in 1984 and quickly expanded to multiple locations. By 1993, when Papa John’s went public, there were 254 store locations. As of 2020, Statista reported there were 5,400 worldwide Papa John’s locations, including 3,134 in the U.S.

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papa johns box
Source: Getty Images

John Schnatter's image has been removed from Papa John's branding since his departure as CEO.

As CEO and chairman, Schnatter was highly involved in the company and brand, his face appearing on its pizza boxes and the walls of its Louisville headquarters. By 2017, he held 31 percent of Papa John’s stock, making him the largest shareholder. His net worth was estimated at $1 billion.

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The embattled founder and former CEO claims that his exit from the company was orchestrated by Democrats, the NFL, and other company officials. He stepped down as CEO in late 2017 following his complaints that the NFL wasn’t punishing Black players for kneeling during the national anthem. Soon after, his use of a racial slur on a corporate conference call was leaked.

papa johns store
Source: Getty
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Schnatter’s net worth is somewhat indefinite. Though Forbes gave him a billion-dollar net worth estimate in 2017, the value of Papa John’s stock has shifted, and Schnatter has also reportedly sold off over $500 million of his shares since then. Celebritynetworth.com puts his net worth at $500 million, while Fox Business still estimated it at $1 billion as of July 2020.

Schnatter recently told Bloomberg he had tested 800 pizzas from his former company over the past 18 months, mainly to criticize their quality. He holds out hope for a corporate apology and admission of mistreatment.

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John Schnatter’s wife and family

Schnatter was married for 32 years to his wife Annette Cox. The pair have three children together. In 2019, soon after the notorious interview in which Schnatter claimed to have consumed 40 Papa John’s pizzas in 30 days, his wife filed for divorce.

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John Schnatter’s house

Schnatter lives in the most expensive home in Louisville, a sprawling castle-like residence worth about $12 million, according to Fox Business. As part of the divorce settlement, Schnatter retained ownership of the Louisville home.

Schnatter has taken to TikTok to show off the ornate extravagance of his mansion, which features 15 acres, a moat, a carriage house, and detailed decor sparing no expense.

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