Papa John's CMO Out in Marketing Shift at Company

Robert Thompson Now Senior VP of Marketing, Bob Kraut Departs After Less Than Two Years

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Bob Kraut has left Papa John's
Bob Kraut has left Papa John's

When Papa John's announced the promotion of Robert Thompson to senior VP of marketing last week, it left out the news that Chief Marketing Officer Bob Kraut was out after less than two years in the job.

Papa John's, which often highlights founder John Schnatter in its advertising, confirmed to Ad Age that Mr. Kraut has left the company, but offered no futher details about the nature of his departure. When Papa John's announced its hiring of Mr. Kraut in October 2013 it called him "a transformative marketing leader."

A spokesman said that the chain would continue to maintain the current direction of its advertising in creative partnership with Grey.

Mr. Thompson, who will oversee all of Papa John's global marketing, joined the company in 1999. He began as a manager in operations accounting, was then in management positions within the restaurant planning and analysis team and joined the marketing team in 2004. He most recently served as VP-brand planning and analysis.

Along with Mr. Thompson's promotion, the chain also named Edmond Heelan as senior VP-North American operations and global operations support and training.

Before joining Papa John's in late 2013, Mr. Kraut had worked at Arby's Restaurant Group and before that was VP-marketing communications at Papa John's rival Pizza Hut. He also held marketing and advertising roles at General Motors.

Papa John's total U.S. advertising spending rose 7.6% to $187.2 million in 2014, according to the Ad Age Datacenter.

In August, Papa John's announced a multi-year deal with Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt as a brand spokesman. Mr. Watt is set to join Peyton Manning and Mr. Schnatter in a national advertising campaign during this NFL football season. Papa John's is in its fourth year as the official pizza sponsor of the NFL and is the official pizza of Super Bowl 50.

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