The founder and CEO of Papa John’s Pizza, John Schattner, is stepping down from his position, the company announced on Thursday.
The company said its current president, Steve Ritchie, would replace him.
Schnatter sparked controversy in November when he slammed NFL leadership over players’ kneeling during the national anthem to protest racial injustice and police brutality.
He also said that sales had declined because of the protests. Papa John’s is an NFL sponsor and advertiser.
Schnatter owns roughly 25% of Papa John’s and will stay on as chairman after stepping down as CEO in January. A press release from the company said he would “pursue his personal passion for entrepreneurship, leadership development, and education.”
Schnatter has stepped down as CEO before in 2005 after a period of declining sales at the company, then returned three years later.