O & # 39; Neal, a member of the NBA Hall of Fame, will join Papa John's board of directors. O & # 39; Neal will also invest in nine Papa John stores in Atlanta and will become the brand's ambassador in the commercials. The company will pay O. Neal $ 8.25 million over three years for the endorsement deal, the statement said.
"Shaquille has an excellent entrepreneurial background, including as a restaurant franchise owner, and is a natural creative marketing agent," said Jeff Smith, chairman of Papa John's board of directors.
O & # 39; Neal has experience in the food industry. He owns a Krispy Kreme Donuts franchise in Atlanta, a casual fried chicken joint in Las Vegas and the Shaquille restaurant in Los Angeles.
Papa John's has distanced herself from her founder and his dishonored former pitchman with an advertising campaign and an internal audit of diversity and inclusion practices. Schnatter fought back with ferocious attacks. He said the current CEO, Steve Ritchie, was the wrong man for the job and said that he had helped create a culture of substance abuse plagued by harassment and intimidation.
"Dad John's built a better culture and I wish to contribute to the improvement of the [company] from the inside, "said O. Neal in a statement.
Papa John 's shares rose about 5% to the announcement.
– Danielle Wiener-Bronner from CNN Business contributed to this article.