Article Title: Shaquille O’Neal Joins Steve Ritchie At Papa John’s

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Papa John’s and CEO Steve Ritchie have been doing a lot to strengthen the brand. Recently, the company announced that basketball star Shaquille O’Neal would be taking on the position of spokesman for the pizza chain. The deal was made for $8.25 million and Steve Ritchie of Papa John’s believes that he will be able to connect to their customers as well as their employees.

The addition of Shaquille O’Neal to the board at Papa John’s will make him the first member that is African American. This is a big step in the diversity efforts that are being led by Papa John’s President, Steve Ritchie. The company had faced issues with their image after a former executive made some negative statements and have been making big changes to the company ever since. Shaquille O’Neal stated that he wanted to be able to help the hundreds of franchises that have suffered because of the actions of one person that is no longer with the company. He wants to help get the company back on track.

The marketing agreement that Papa John’s and Shaquille O’Neal reached is expected to last 3 years. The company is based in Louisville and employs around 120,000 people. The endorsement deal includes company stock along with the cash which together equals the value. With Steve Ritchie and the rest of Papa John’s working so hard to make big changes to the overall culture of the company, O’Neal wants to be part of the company improving their image.

After meeting Shaquille O’Neal at a Super Bowl party thrown by the superstar, Steve Ritchie started talking to him about Papa John’s as he had shown interest in becoming a franchise owner. Eventually, Shaquille began expressing an interest in joining the company’s board and the deal then grew from there. He stated that his membership spoke strongly about the company’s efforts to improve the culture. Shaquille O’Neal has experience in restaurants and is an entrepreneur along with being a diverse and high-quality addition to their team. Steve Ritchie noted that the company’s executive team added 4 women to their team in the last year.

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