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John Schnatter

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John Schnatter
Born (1961-11-23) November 23, 1961 (age 53)
Jeffersonville, Indiana, U.S.
Residence Anchorage, Kentucky, U.S.[1]
Nationality American
Alma mater Ball State University[2]
Occupation Founder, owner, CEO, and spokesman of Papa John's Pizza
Years active 1984–present
Spouse(s) Annette (m. 1987)
Children Kristine (b. 1986)
Danielle (b. 1990)
Beau (b. 1998)

John H. Schnatter (born November 23, 1961) is an American businessman and the founder, current CEO,[3] and spokesman for Papa John's International, Inc. He founded the company in October 1984.[4]

Early life and education[edit]

Schnatter was born in Jeffersonville, Indiana on November 23, 1961, and graduated from Jeffersonville High School in 1979, then earned a business degree from Ball State University in 1983. In 1984, John Schnatter's father co-owned Mick's Lounge, a tavern in Jeffersonville. Schnatter sold his 1972 Camaro Z28, purchased used pizza equipment for $1,600, and removed a broom closet in the rear of the business from which he sold pizzas. The pizzas were so popular that Schnatter was able to move into his own space next door the following year.[5][6]


Financial donations[edit]

His business has the naming rights to Papa John's Cardinal Stadium used by the University of Louisville's football team, in exchange for donating $5 million.[7] Schnatter made a further donation for the stadium's expansion, and extended the naming rights to the year 2040.

Schnatter made a million-dollar contribution to the Louisville Zoo's Glacier Run expansion.[8] His Calistoga Bakery sponsors a bike team and donated money to build bike trails.

On May 28, 2009 Schnatter was announced as Honorary Chair of the Ride to Conquer Cancer benefiting Louisville's Norton Cancer Institute.[9]

The Camaro[edit]

In 1983, Schnatter sold his 1971 Chevrolet Camaro to help his father's struggling business. He used the left over funds to start Papa John's. Decades later, he offered a reward of $250,000 for finding the car, and on August 26, 2009, Schnatter bought the Camaro back for $250,000.[10] In celebration, Papa John's offered a free pizza to anyone who owned a Camaro.[11] The actual Camaro is on display in the company's headquarters in Louisville, Kentucky. The company owns several replicas that are used on tours and for public and TV appearances.[12]


Papa John's and Schnatter have been subjects of considerable discussion after he made comments about the Affordable Care Act to a class on entrepreneurship.[13]

Schnatter had hosted a fundraiser at his home for Republican Party candidate Mitt Romney in May 2012.[14] Schnatter was amongst other wealthy contributors on a 2014 list of people affiliated with the Koch brothers and the political fundraising organizations, as reported by Mother Jones.[15]

Awards and honors[edit]

Personal life[edit]

Schnatter has been married to his wife, Annette, since 1987. The couple have three children: Kristine, Danielle, and Beau. The Schnatter family resides in Anchorage, Kentucky.[16]

Schnatter identifies as an Evangelical Christian and is a member of the Southeast Christian Church.[17]


  1. ^ "WLKY-TV airs one-on-one interview with John Schnatter". 
  2. ^ "How Do You Make $260 Million from Pizza? Keep Your Eyes on the Pies". 
  3. ^ John Schnatter: Executive Profile & Biography – Businessweek
  4. ^ "The story of Papa John's". Retrieved 2010-07-30. 
  5. ^ "Profile: John Schnatter". Forbes. Retrieved 12 April 2013. 
  6. ^ "About Papa Johns". Papa John's International. Retrieved 12 April 2013. 
  7. ^ "Louisville Football – Papa John's Cardinal Stadium – ESBN". ESBN. Retrieved 2012-12-05. 
  8. ^ "Back to dough after losing bread: Papa John Schnatter shutters Calistoga Artisan Sandwich project after three and a half years". Insider Louisville. Retrieved 2012-12-05. 
  9. ^ "Conquer Cancer website". 2009-05-28. Retrieved 2010-07-30. 
  10. ^ Carol Whyte (2009-08-25). "Papa John's boss finds Camaro, gives free pizza". Associated Press. Retrieved 2012-11-24. 
  11. ^ Associated, The (2009-09-02). "Papa John's founder pays 250Kg for Camaro". Retrieved 2010-07-30. [dead link]
  12. ^ Carol Whyte (2009-08-22). "Founder of Papa John's Reunited with Camaro Sold in 1983". Yahoo Voices. Retrieved 2012-07-17. 
  13. ^ Resnikoff, Ned (2012-11-20). "Denny's, Papa John's walk back criticism of Obamacare". Retrieved 2014-02-04. 
  14. ^ Gerth, Joseph (2012-04-17). "Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney to visit Louisville Thursday for fundraiser". The Courier-Journal. Retrieved 2014-02-04. 
  15. ^ Kroll, Andy; Schulman, Daniel (Feb 5, 2014). "The Koch Brothers Left a Confidential Document at Their Last Donor Conference—Read It Here". Retrieved February 5, 2014. 
  16. ^ Wolfson, Andrew (2013-01-14). "'Papa John' makes no apology for wealth, Obamacare remarks". USA Today. Retrieved 11/2/2013.
  17. ^ "About John Schnatter". 

External links[edit]