Papa John’s names new president, COO

LOUISVILLE Ky. Papa John’s International Inc. said Thursday it has appointed Joseph Jude Thompson as the company’s new president and chief operating officer.

Thompson, who has been a member of Papa John’s board of directors since 2008, will report directly to John Schnatter, company founder, chairman and chief executive. Schnatter will continue as the company’s chief executive, a position he returned to on an interim basis in December 2008, but will turn the day-to-day operating role of president to Thompson. Schnatter had returned to Papa John’s following the resignation of former president and chief executive Nigel Travis, who left to become chief executive at Dunkin’ Brands Inc.

Company officials said the teaming of Thompson and Schnatter ensures a positive sucession plan for the company, with Schnatter focusing on research and development as well as quality assurance. Thompson will handle the day-to-day running of the operation, which is a system of more than 3,000 restaurants.

“I am excited that Jude has accepted the offer to join our management team,” Schnatter said. “Jude has been an invaluable asset to the entire Papa John’s system as he has helped me lead the company during the last 120-day transition period. I look forward to continuing our partnership together.”

In recent months Papa John’s has undergone a reshuffling of the executive management team, which in addition to Schnatter’s return, also included the appointment in March of Bill Mitchell as the chain’s new president of domestic operations and the resignation of Bill Van Epps, who had exited that post.

Thompson, before joining Papa John’s, served as senior vice president for WellPoint Inc. and president of individual business for Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, both of which are U.S. health insurance conglomerates.

Contact Elissa Elan at [email protected] [3].