July 27 (UPI) -- Olivia Kirtley, lead independent director at Papa John's, will take over as chairwoman of the company's board of directors, replacing the scandal-plagued John Schnatter, the pizza chain announced Friday.
The board unanimously approved Kirtley's appointment.
Papa John's also said its corporate governance and nominating committee of the board was seeking new independent directors.
"The establishment of the board's independent special committee and the ongoing cultural audit and investigation are among numerous steps underway to ensure that equity, inclusion, diversity and respect are upheld throughout the organization," Kirtley said.
Schnatter resigned as chairman earlier this month after it was revealed he used a racial slur during a conference call in May.
Schnatter was doing a role-playing exercise with Laundry Service, a marketing agency hired to prevent the pizza mogul from making more public relations mistakes. Schnatter hired the agency after he criticized NFL players for kneeling during the national anthem to protest police brutality. The fallout resulted in Schnatter resigning from his role as CEO in December.
Kirtley has been a lead independent director on Papa John's board of directors since 2017. She's a certified public accountant and business consultant.