Papa John’s restructures management

Mike Nettles was promoted to chief operating and growth officer, among other changes.
Photograph by Shutterstock

Papa John’s has promoted Mike Nettles to a newly created position, chief operating and growth officer, as part of a series of management changes announced Friday afternoon.

The changes are designed “to improve customer experience and drive growth.”

Nettles, who has more than 28 years of restaurant and technology experience, had been the Louisville, Ky.-based company’s chief information and digital officer. Nettles, who joined the company in 2017, helped upgrade the chain’s mobile app and established new ordering partnerships with Facebook, Amazon and DoorDash.

In addition to Nettles’ promotion, the company announced other changes:

Justin Falciola was promoted to senior vice president, chief analytics and technology officer.

Anne Fischer was named senior vice president, customer experience.

Paul Fabre was promoted to senior vice president, menu strategy and innovation.

Melissa Richards-Person was promoted to chief brand officer.

“Improving how we engage with our customers is core to the new operating priorities announced earlier this year,” CEO Steve Ritchie said in a statement. “By aligning our leadership structure around the customer experience, our team’s diverse talents will be leveraged to drive enterprise-wide change and pioneer new innovations that accelerate the company’s growth.”

He said that Nettles “has significantly elevated the consumer experience across our digital and mobile platforms.” And he said the additional promotions “reflect strong contributions these executives have made to Papa John’s and our belief that, in their new roles, they can propel our success even further.”

The changes are only the latest in a major shift in leadership at the pizza chain, which is working to recover from a yearlong controversy that began last November. That was when John Schnatter, the chain’s founder and former chairman and CEO, appeared to blame NFL player protests for the league’s weak ratings and his chain’s weakening sales.

Schnatter ultimately stepped down as CEO and then resigned as chairman and was removed from the company’s marketing in July after he acknowledged using a racial slur during a conference call.

The company’s international president and chief development officer, Timothy O’Hern, left in September. Joe Smith was promoted to CFO in April and then given responsibility for development after O’Hern’s departure, and Chief Marketing Officer Brandon Rhoten left the company in May.

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