Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. (NYSE: CMG)announced on Tuesday that it has elected Brian Niccol as the new Chief Executive Officer and a member of the Board, effective March 5, 2018. Niccol served as the CEO of Yum! Brands’ Taco Bell division.
Chipotle shares rose by 11.4 percent during Wednesday’s pre-market hours.
"Brian is a proven world-class executive, who will bring fresh energy and leadership to drive excellence across every aspect of our business.” said Chipotle Chairman, CEO and Founder Steve Ells.
Ells announced that he will step down from his position as the CEO of Chipotle back in November last year, but said he would hold the position until a new chief was appointed.
Former co-CEO, Monty Moran also stepped down back in 2016 as the Mexican food chain was struggling due to a major E. coli outbreak. Moran received pressure from investors, which eventually led him to step down saying that the company needed turnaround.
Ells had the same reasons as Moran for stepping down, saying that a new CEO is necessary for Chipotle’s shareholders and that the company needed improvement.
“The Board is confident that Brian's passion and skillset ideally position him to make the bold moves needed to improve operations and take the company to the next level, all while remaining true to our purpose and the values that are essential to our customers." added Ells.
Prior to joining Chipotle, Niccol was at Taco Bell from 2011 until he served as CEO in 2015 and President from 2013 to 2014. Under his leadership, Niccol was able to reshape the fast food chain into a lifestyle brand and launching a breakfast menu.
Niccol was able to reshape Taco Bell into a social media leader and brought digital innovations to the company, as he popularized mobile ordering across 7,000 chains.
“I have tremendous respect for the Chipotle brand and its powerful purpose. At Chipotle's core is delicious food, which I will look to pair up with consistently great customer experiences. I will also focus on dialing up Chipotle's cultural relevance through innovation in menu and digital communications. This will attract customers, return the brand to growth, deliver value for shareholders and create opportunities for employees." said Niccol.