Is The Shaq-Papa John’s Marriage Over?

We all have rough Mondays, but few have one as bad as Shaquille O’Neal. First, he gets accused of being involved with the controversial Joe Exotic from Netflix’s “Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness” after a photo of the two of them holding a baby tiger went viral. Then, proxy firm, Institutional Shareholder Services, otherwise known as “ISS”, called on to Papa John’s shareholders to request for the removal of Shaq from the company’s board.

It’s not unusual to hear Papa John’s is having issues with frankly anyone. Their founder and former CEO, John Schnatter, was most recently in the news for claiming he tried 40 pizzas in 30 days before clarifying that he only had portions of those 40 as part of research. This is also the same CEO who was removed from his old company for using the “n word” on a company phone conference with advertiser. In the slew of all this, they added Shaquille O’Neal to their board thinking he would change its image. There’s just one issue. Shaq is the world’s busiest human being. He owns plenty of businesses, works as a basketball analyst for TNT and already stars in plenty of commercials for other companies. For a company that really needs a PR turnaround and every little bit of help as possible, it was probably not bright to be just another notch in Shaq’s belt.

According to ISS, Shaq attended less than 75% of the company’s board meetings last year. With an upcoming vote on April 23, ISS is hoping that shareholders go against Shaq’s reelection. So far, no one else has voiced their opinion, but it’s safe to say for any company, no matter how well they’re performing, should probably not bring back someone who showed up at a worse rate than Shaq’s free throw percentage. Imagine your company is sinking like a ship and they bring along an employee that receives all the credit for the positive work moving forward while doing literally nothing. It’s safe to say that most people would turn against that person. Will others on Papa John’s board do the same? They probably should.

The real issue for Papa John’s is improving the quality of their awful pizza, while staying afloat during these troubled times. The addition of Shaquille O’Neal was always a massive distraction that literally didn’t pay off. It’s been slow for news on Wall Street other than the impact on the coronavirus. An upcoming war between Shaq and Papa John’s may be what we need to keep us sane.

Not a doctor, nor do I play one on Twitter. Value investing appreciator. Trying to make sense of wild & crazy stock market.