Chipotle Mexican Grill (NYSE: CMG) today announced that its Board of Directors has appointed Brian Niccol as chief executive officer and a member of the Board, effective March 5, 2018. Niccol most recently served as CEO of Yum! Brands’ Taco Bell Division, where he was responsible for the highly successful turnaround of the business.
Chipotle Chairman, CEO and Founder Steve Ells, who will become executive chairman, said, “Brian is a proven world-class executive, who will bring fresh energy and leadership to drive excellence across every aspect of our business. His expertise in digital technologies, restaurant operations and branding make him a perfect fit for Chipotle as we seek to enhance our customer experience, drive sales growth and make our brand more relevant. 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.”
Niccol said, “I am very excited to be joining Chipotle at this pivotal time in its history. 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.”
Prior to joining Chipotle, Brian Niccol was at Taco Bell from 2011 and served as CEO from January, 2015 and president from 2013 to 2014. Under his leadership, he successfully repositioned Taco Bell as a lifestyle brand and successfully launched numerous product initiatives, including the new breakfast daypart, the fastest growing daypart in the industry. He transformed Taco Bell into a social media leader and revolutionized its digital approach through mobile ordering and payment across their 7,000 restaurants. He also created a people-centric innovation culture that has been recognized throughout the industry.
Prior to Taco Bell, Niccol held leadership roles at Pizza Hut, including vice president of strategy, chief marketing officer, and general manager. He led the brand strategy and positioning that achieved record transactions and market share. Additionally, his innovation in digital with on-line and mobile app ordering was industry leading during his time in the business.
Niccol began his career at Procter & Gamble where he spent 10 years in various brand management positions. He holds an undergraduate degree from Miami University (OH) and an MBA from The University of Chicago Booth School of Business. Niccol serves on the Board of Governors for the Boys & Girls Club of America and on the Board of Directors of Harley-Davidson, Inc.