'Time is right'
The executive, who in 1984 started the company in the back of his father's Jeffersonville, Ind., tavern, also agreed to new compensation terms, eschewing cash for stock options.
"With Nigel Travis having led the company for the last two years as president and CEO, and the strength of our board and the management team supporting him, the time is right for me to pull back a bit from the day-to-day operation of the company," Mr. Schnatter said in a statement. "I'm fine working for stock options alone -- that way, I get compensated only if the rest of the shareholders win through a stock-price increase."
Mr. Schnatter will continue as the face and chief spokesman in advertising for the No. 3 pizza chain. Zimmerman Advertising, Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., is the chain's agency; Aegis Group's Carat, buys media.