Richest BusinessCEOs
Net Worth:
$400 Million
Nov 23, 1961 (62 years old)
Entrepreneur, Businessperson, Spokesperson
United States of America
💰 Compare Papa John Schnatter's Net Worth

What is John Schnatter's net worth?

"Papa" John Schnatter is an American pizza entrepreneur and television personality who has a net worth of $400 million. John Schnatter is famous for being the founder, former chairman, and former CEO of Papa Johns International Inc, a pizza delivery business. Schnatter became a national celebrity thanks to his appearance in many national commercials which always end with the signature slogan "Better Ingredients. Better Pizza. Papa Johns." He was forced out of the company in 2018 and sold his entire stake over a series of stock sales in 2019, netting around $500 million in cash, pre-tax, pre-divorce.

Early Life

John Schnatter was born on November 23, 1958 in Jeffersonville, Indiana. He graduated from Jeffersonville High School then went on to earn a degree in business from Ball State University. After graduating from college, John returned to Jeffersonville where his father co-owned a restaurant called Mick's Tavern.

Having spent his college years earning money as a pizza delivery driver, John was convinced that Mick's Tavern should also be in the pizza business.

Pizza Empire

In 1984, John Schnatter sold his car, a 1971 Camaro Z28, to give him enough money to buy out the father's partner and invest $1,600 in pizza equipment. Decades later he tracked down the very same Camaro and re-acquired it for $250,000.

He converted a broom closet in the back of Mick's Tavern into a pizza-making room and over time took over the entire restaurant. He also eventually changed the name of the restaurant to Papa John's.

Papa John's went public in 1993. At the IPO John owned around 30% of the company's shares. At the IPO he became a multi-millionaire overnight. Within a few decades his stake would earn him hundreds of millions of dollars and even, very briefly, paper billionaire status.

As of this writing, Papa John's has more than 5,300 locations, 16,000 employees and $1.5 billion in annual revenue. Schnatter would later describe his business as a "17-year overnight success story". He has received many awards including being inducted into the Junior Achievement U.S. Business Hall of Fame in 2007, named National Ernst & Young Retail/Consumer Entrepreneur of the Year in 1998, and being inducted into the Kentucky Entrepreneur Hall of Fame in 2010.

John Schnatter Net Worth

(Photo by Rob Kim/Getty Images)


Schnatter's downfall with the company began in 2012 when he publicly criticized the Affordable Care Act. That storm quickly blew over but another one brewed in 2017 when he publicly blamed the NFL for his company's poor financial performance. He believed his revenues were down because of the NFL's kneeling controversy and was upset that the league hadn't done more to stop it.

He stepped down as CEO in January 2018. He resigned from the company entirely in July 2018 after disparaging comments he made on a conference call were publicized.

In November 2019, Schnatter appeared on a local television news program. During the interview, Schnatter appeared sweaty and bloated. He disparaged his former company while also claiming to have eaten 40 pizzas in 30 days. The interview was not well-received.

Stock Holdings & Billionaire Status

As we mentioned previously, from the IPO in 1993 onward, John owned 30% of the company's equity, roughly 10 million shares. He became a billionaire briefly on paper in January 2017 when the stock price hit $84. At that level his 10 million shares were worth $840 million. When combined with his other assets and wealth earned over a two decade period of receiving generous salary and dividends, Papa John Schnatter was a paper billionaire.

Unfortunately, a year and a half later, after a series of controversies, the stock was $41, bringing Schnatter's paper net worth down to $500 million. Throughout 2019 John sold large chunks of his equity in a series of transactions that netted hundreds of millions of dollars in cash. He sold 7 million shares over a period, generating $315 million and in late 2019 Schnatter sold his entire remaining stake in the company, 2.9 million shares, for a windfall of $170 million.

Had Schnatter held onto his 10 million shares, when the stock price reached $130 in late 2021, his stake would have been worth $1.3 billion.

Personal Life

John and his wife Annette were married in 1987. They have three children together. A few weeks after his unfortunate and bizarre news interview, Annette filed for divorce after 32 years of marriage. The filings showed that they had actually been separated since April of 2019. Her filing showed that the couple already has a property settlement agreement. The divorce filing listed a number of real estate, aircraft and other assets which we'll detail in a moment. The filing also stated that Annette owned 31,391 shares of Papa John's pizza which at the time were worth around $1.8 million at $53 a share. The filing also stated that John owned 2.9 million shares which at that point were worth $171 million.

John Schnatter's Real Estate

According to divorce filings submitted in late 2019, prior to their separation John and Annette co-owned three residential properties in Anchorage, Kentucky, a mansion in Utah and a $6 million condo in Naples, Florida. In Utah they own a $23 million luxury condo at a Deer Valley Ski resort.

Outside of these properties, through his real estate investment firm, Evergreen Real Estate LLC, John also an additional 20 investment properties.

Louisville Mansion

John Schnatter's most famous piece of real estate is a 20,000 square foot castle set on 15 acres that he has dubbed the "Papa Castle." Located within an exclusive Louisville, Kentucky country club, the mansion is worth $7-10 million. The property features a 22-car multi-level garage, several pools, a private lake and a golf course.

When Mitt Romney was hosted at the mansion for a fundraiser, he opened his remarks with the following statement about the mansion:

"Who would've imagined pizza could build this? This is really something. Don't you love this country? What a home this is, what grounds these are, the pool, the golf course…. This is a real tribute to America, to entrepreneurship."

Private Jets

Schnatter's divorce filings also illustrated that the pizza mogul owns two aircraft through an LLC called Hampton Airways, Inc. One of the aircraft is a Bell 429 GlobalRanger helicopter. The other is a Dassault Falcon 2000EX private jet. The helicopter's estimated value is between $4 and $6 million. The private jet's estimated value is between $9 and $12 million.

All net worths are calculated using data drawn from public sources. When provided, we also incorporate private tips and feedback received from the celebrities or their representatives. While we work diligently to ensure that our numbers are as accurate as possible, unless otherwise indicated they are only estimates. We welcome all corrections and feedback using the button below.
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