Schnatter ranks no. 17 on Fortune's 40 Richest Under 40

March 29, 2002

For the third-straight year, John Schnatter, 39, president and CEO of Papa John's International, is one of Fortune magazine's 40 richest people under 40. The annual survey includes such notables as Tom Cruise (no. 19) and Tiger Woods (no. 40).

The criteria for making the list was based primarily on each person making -- not inheriting -- their fortunes on their own. For those, such as Schnatter, whose wealth came from ownership in a public company, the magazine researched proxy statements, insider-trading records and other public documents. Every executives' wealth was tabulated using the number of shares and exercisable options each held, minus an assumed tax rate for insider trades and cash deals.

According to Fortune, Schnatter, whose company has about 2,650 stores, has an estimated net worth of $293 million. He credited his company's hard-working and dedicated personnel with much of his success.

"I'm not being humble; I'm being truthful," Schnatter told Business First, a weekly business newspaper in Louisville, Ky. "We're a 17-year overnight success story."

Likely to the surprise of some, Schnatter called wealth "overrated," but said he thought it was "good if you apply it to healthy things. If you let something like that go to your head, it's the beginning of a downward spiral."

But does Schnatter, well known for his competitive spirit, care that he's richer than Cruise and Woods?

"I don't feel any better or worse, because I finish higher on some list than someone else," he said. "What's Tiger, 25? Odds are by the time he's 39, he'll be doing a lot better (financially) than I am."

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