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The founder and public face of Papa John's pizza, resigned as the company's chairman hours after he apologized for using the N-word on a conference call in May.

Papa John's said late Wednesday it would name a new chairmain in the coming weeks.

John Schnatter had apologized earlier in the day after Forbes reported that he used the racial slur while participating in a role-playing exercise designed to prevent public relations crises.

According to the account in Forbes, Schnatter was on a call with Laundry Service, a marketing agency, and was asked how he planned to manage future public relations flare-ups.

Schnatter caused controversy last year when he said that Papa John's pizza sales were hurt by the NFL's handling of players' kneeling during the National Anthem in protest of racial injustice. He stepped down as CEO two months after the comments.

On the call in May, Schnatter sought to downplay the significance of his criticism of the league and its players, Forbes reported.

"Colonel Sanders called blacks n-----s," he said, complaining that Sanders had never received backlash, according to Forbes. The parent company of KFC did not immediately answer a request for comment.

Forbes also reported that Schnatter recalled growing up in Indiana, where he said people used to drag black people from their trucks until they died.

Forbes reported that Schnatter's comments were intended to demonstrate his stance against racism, but that people on the call were offended by them.

In a statement issued through the company, Schnatter said: "News reports attributing the use of inappropriate and hurtful language to me during a media training session regarding race are true. Regardless of the context, I apologize. Simply stated, racism has no place in our society."

The company's stock closed down nearly 5 percent on Wednesday.

Schnatter also resigned Wednesday from the University of Louisville board of trustees. 

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