At the beginning of 2018, Steve Ritchie took over as Papa John’s new Chief Executive Officer. Mr. Ritchie still serves as the President of the organization. With more than 20 years of experience under Papa John’s and in the pizza franchise industry, Steve Ritchie is more than ready to steer the company forward.
Steve Ritchie’s success story is nothing short of extraordinary. His passion for pizza manifested as early as 16 years when Mr. Ritchie worked in a Burger King restaurant. He then moved to Pizza Man, a small restaurant located in his hometown where he honed his leadership and managerial skills in the pizza business. Due to several robbery attempts, the owner sold the restaurant to Steve Ritchie. His determination and hard work saw him push the business for two years before joining Papa John’s.
Mr. Ritchie is proud of his humble beginning as a customer service rep. He was determined to push forward and moved through several roles at Papa John’s including a delivery driver, a manager, supervisor, franchisee, and the director of global operations. His experience then saw him secure top positions as Papa John’s President, before being appointed CEO. If experience is the best teacher, then Steve Ritchie is one of its wisest students yet.
Despite being a humble and quiet man, Mr. Ritchie had never been shy about his dreams. In 2013, he revealed that he aspired to become Papa John’s CEO after the company’s founder. This according to the ’40 executives under 40’ feature by the Louisville Business feature. He foresaw the realization of his dream in 2025, but fate decided otherwise.
Life has been nothing but rewarding for Steve Ritchie who instead of joining college, decided to work with Papa John’s. His first role at the franchise saw him earn $6 per hour, but as the CEO and President, Mr. Ritchie currently enjoys over $5.6 million in salary and allowances. The Louisville-based pizza company operates more than 5000 pizza outlets and is the third-largest pizza company in the world.
Apart from overseeing the company’s global development, Steve Ritchie will also manage digital marketing alongside his team members. For Mr. Ritchie, having an experienced team is a critical element in the delivery of world-class services to its customers. The new CEO also looks forward to mentoring the next generation of entrepreneurs. Under his leadership, the company launched the Papa John’s Foundation for Community Building, which kickstarted at Bennett College.
Earlier this year, he joined other members of his Executive Team in a panel discussion and interaction with college students at Bennett. The event underscored the college’s mission to educate and prepare more women of color for leadership roles. Papa John’s also contributed $500,000 to the college’s fundraising to aid its mission.