Papa John’s (NASDAQ: PZZA – News) today named John H. Schnatter, the company’s founder and chairman, as interim CEO, effective immediately. Schnatter succeeds Nigel Travis, who has served as Papa John’s president and CEO and a member of the Board of Directors since 2005.

Travis is leaving the company to pursue another opportunity and the board has agreed that his employment with Papa John’s will continue through Dec. 30, 2008.

The company’s Board of Directors has formed a committee comprised of William M. Street, who will serve as chair, Alexander W. Smith, Olivia F. Kirtley, Norborne P. Cole, Jr., and Schnatter, to undertake a search for a permanent CEO.

Norborne P. Cole, Jr., Papa John’s lead director, says, “We are pleased that John has once again agreed to lead the company, albeit on an interim basis, until we can identify a permanent replacement. John is a proven business leader with broad management experience, an unparalleled understanding of this business and valuable relationships with franchisees throughout the Papa John’s system.”

“I look forward to working closely with our talented team,” Schnatter says. Schnatter created the Papa John’s concept and founded the company in 1985.

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