Papa John’s announces Shaquille O’Neal as new board member, ambassador for brand

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Could Shaq make Papa John’s a slam dunk again?

Shaquille O’Neal announced Friday that he will be the company’s first African-American board member. The fifth-highest-scoring player in NBA history also was recruited as the official face — or “ambassador” — of the struggling pizza giant.

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“I have truly enjoyed the high-quality Papa John’s product for years and am excited to be able to help Papa John’s raise their game to new heights,” O’Neal said in a statement. “This is a triple threat opportunity for me. I am excited to join the board and to help lead from the top, while also investing in nine stores in my home town of Atlanta and being an ambassador for the brand.

The move comes after a series of high-profile PR disasters and sex scandals sent profits plummeting. The stock, which has a market value of $1.48 billion, is down 17.2 percent over the last year, CNBC reports.

The former Los Angeles Laker and Boston Celtic will have to put his experience as a Krispy Kreme Doughnuts and Five Guys Burgers franchise owner into action to clean up some ugly optics, though.

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Papa John’s founder John Schnatter stepped down as CEO in late 2017 after a recording of him using the N-word — during an earnings call in which he claimed NFL national anthem protests were killing pizza sales — was leaked to Forbes.

This article was originally published in The New York Post.

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