Chipotle Mexican Grill plans to hire a new CEO. Once the company does so, Steve Ells, the fast-casual chain’s chairman and CEO and founder, will become executive chairman of the Denver-based company.
Ells, along with Robin Hickenlooper and Ali Namvar, both members of the Denver-based company’s board of directors will lead the efforts to identify Chipotle’s next CEO and, in doing so, will work with an executive search firm. The chain seeks “a new leader with demonstrated turnaround expertise to help address the challenges facing the company, improve execution, build customer trust, and drive sales,” per a release announcing the pending leadership transition.
The news seems to come in response to some of the recent operational challenges Chipotle has faced. “I am incredibly proud of Chipotle and our people – and grateful to our loyal customers – and while we are continuing to make progress, it is clear that we need to move faster to make improvements,” said Ells in a statement. “Simply put, we need to execute better to ensure our future success. The Board and I are committed to bringing in an experienced leader with a passion for driving excellence across every aspect of our business, including the customer experience, operations, marketing, technology, food safety, and training. … As we work hard to restore our brand, I believe we can capitalize on opportunities, including in areas such as the digital experience, menu innovation, delivery, catering, and domestic and international expansion, to deliver significant growth.”