American pizza chain Papa John’s has hired international law firm Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld to manage an audit and investigation of the company.

A special committee, comprised of the pizza chain’s independent directors of the board, hired the law firm.

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The firm will investigate existing processes, policies and systems of the restaurant chain related to diversity and inclusion, supplier and vendor engagement.

Led by Akin Gump partners Douglass Maynard and Estela Diaz, a team will manage additional experts and consultants in the investigation process.

Papa John’s International special committee member Olivia Kirtley said: “We’re focused on creating the right future for Papa John’s.

“The special committee of the board is committed to this thorough audit and investigation and to taking deliberate actions to rebuild trust at Papa John’s and to ensure that this company is driven by the values of diversity, equity, inclusion and respect.”

Earlier this week, the restaurant chain formed the special committee to evaluate and take action regarding the company’s relationships and arrangements with John H. Schnatter, who recently stepped down as its chairman.

Schnatter admitted to and apologised for racist statements made during a media training session. He owns a 24% stake in the company and also remains on the company’s board.