Shares of the pizza chain surged 11 percent Thursday morning — recovering all of the $96.2 million, and then some, in market value the company lost after Schnatter's comments were reported by Forbes the day before.
Papa John's said in a statement late Wednesday night that it will appoint a new chairman in the coming weeks. Olivia Kirtley, the board's lead independent director, will run the board until a permanent replacement is found, it added.
News of Schnatter's resignation came shortly after Major League Baseball indefinitely suspended its Papa Slam promotion — a campaign that both sides have collaborated on since 2016. In addition, the Miami Marlins announced Thursday that the team was suspending its relationship and all promotions with the brand.
The conference call in May came to light after Forbes magazine detailed the incident in an article Wednesday. The report, which was later confirmed by Schnatter, said he was on a call with marketing agency Laundry Service when he tried to downplay comments he made about the National Football League last fall by saying, “Colonel Sanders called blacks n-----s" and never faced any public backlash at KFC.