Papa John’s Announces its Newest Board Member: Shaq
Papa John’s Announces its Newest Board Member: Shaq

Four-time NBA champion and television personality Shaquille O’Neal will become the first African-American member of the pizza chain’s board of directors.

Finally having moved on from a lengthy public falling out with its founder, Papa John’s has made a Hall-of-Fame addition to its board of directors. The pizza giant has entered into a multi-faceted partnership with multi-talented NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal, the brand announced Friday.

As part of the partnership, O’Neal will join the Papa John’s Board of Directors, becoming the first African-American to serve on the board. Additionally, O’Neal will receive an ownership stake in nine Atlanta-area Papa John’s franchise locations and become an ambassador for the brand.

Beyond his Hall-of-Fame basketball career, music enterprise and extensive catalog of film and television experience, O’Neal’s restaurant industry ties run deep. He currently owns a Krispy Kreme Doughnuts franchise in Atlanta and previously owned 27 Five Guys Burgers and Fries franchises. O’Neal is also the founder and owner of Las Vegas-based fast-casual fried chicken restaurant Big Chicken, and recently opened a fine dining restaurant in Los Angeles called Shaquille’s.

“In addition to his business acumen, Shaquille understands how to build lasting connections with consumers and energize employees,” Papa John’s president and CEO Steve Ritchie said in a statement. “I look forward to working with him as a board member and brand partner to advance the many initiatives we are pursuing across the organization to create even greater success for Papa John’s and our stakeholders.”

Read the full announcement here.