Papa John's promotes Tony Thompson to EVP

Thompson will oversee company's North American operations

Papa John’s International Inc. has promoted Tony Thompson to executive vice president with responsibility for the company's North American operations.

Thompson also will continue his role as president of Global PJ Food Service, in which he leads Papa John's quality control, research and development, and supply chain management efforts, the company said Friday.

The company said Thompson would work with Steve Ritchie and Tim North to oversee Papa John's North American operations. Ritchie was promoted to senior vice president of operations, and he will lead Papa John’s domestic corporate stores’ operations. North, who was appointed senior vice president of North American operations in 2009, will oversee franchise operations in the United States and Canada.

Chris Sternberg, Papa John’s senior vice president of corporate communications, said North had overseen all North American operations before Thompson’s promotion. He added that the new structure would allow North to concentrate fully on franchise operations, as growing the domestic franchisee base remains a key strategy for Papa John’s.

“Tony has done an outstanding job driving efficiencies and improvements throughout our global distribution, quality assurance and supply chain functions,” said Jude Thompson, Papa John’s president and co-chief executive. “Supported by talented and experienced operators in Steve Ritchie and Tim North, we look forward to Tony expanding his leadership to our North American operations teams.”

Papa John’s domestic performance was a mixed bag in its most recent third quarter, which ended Sept. 26. The company said guest counts were up in the quarter, but aggressive discounting in the pizza sector pressured average checks, yielding same-store sales decreases of 1.6 percent at corporate units and 0.3 percent at franchised locations. Since then, Papa John’s has relaunched its online-ordering site, which now links customers’ purchases to an online loyalty program.

Louisville, Ky.-based Papa John’s operates or franchises 3,583 pizza restaurants worldwide.

Contact Mark Brandau at [email protected] [3].