Papa John’s has turned to a Black woman executive to fix its reputation. Bozoma Saint John, the chief executive officer of entertainment industry giant Endeavor, has been tapped to help the beleaguered pizza chain after a major mess over racist incidents, CNN reported.
Saint John was the former Chief Brand Officer at Uber and left the position in June. “I’m not saying the corporate culture [at Uber] has righted itself 100 percent,” she said to Tech Crunch upon her departure from Uber to Endeavor. “Or it’s where it needs to be today. It isn’t. There’s still a lot to be done in that regard.”
Saint John was focused on diversity and inclusion with her move to Endeavor — championing D&I efforts may likely also be a primary goal at Papa John’s. Saint John would be leading a campaign to help the pizza chain to “rehab its image.”
Most recently, Papa John’s sales have declined after John Schnatter, the company’s former CEO and chairman, used the N-word. Schnatter said the racial slur during a conference call with a marketing firm earlier this year. Papa John’s then stopped using his image in marketing materials. Company executives also denounced the NFL players’ anthem protests about police brutality last November.
Papa John’s has followed several other companies who have enlisted Black women to fix their corporate messes. Starbucks hired Rosalind Brewer as its first Black woman chief operating officer last September after years of discrimination incidents at its stores. Though Starbucks had a major setback when two Black men were wrongfully arrested at a Philadelphia store in April, the company then heard from the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund in trying to address racial bias within its business.
The Dallas Mavericks also hired Cynthia Marshall, a Black woman, as its CEO in February after the organization faced several sexual harassment allegations.