Taco Bell's CEO leaving Irvine-based fast food chain for Chipotle

Taco Bell's CEO leaving Irvine-based fast food chain for Chipotle

Shares of Chipotle, which are down 39 percent over the past year, soared as much as 12 percent in after-hours trades, to $281.03.

"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", the release states. It has expanded from about 6,400 restaurants in 2015, his first year as CEO, to 6,849 restaurants and $10.1 billion in sales in 2017.

Chipotle named Niccol to the post on Tuesday, after founder Steve Ells announced past year that he was stepping down from that role while staying on as chairman.

Niccol said in the statement, "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", he said.

Chipotle has been trying to win back customers since 2015, when its sales plunged after an E. coli outbreak.

"Naming Taco Bell's chief Brian Niccol as its new CEO was the best possible outcome for CMG's search, in our view, given his track record of innovation, expertise in marketing, menu development, operations, and digital", said Morgan Stanley analyst John Glass. "This will attract customers, return the brand to growth, deliver value for shareholders and create opportunities for employees".


The chain is bringing in Taco Bell CEO Brian Niccol to run the company. They'll report directly to Yum Brands CEO Greg Creed.

But the average consumer might be put off by the hire considering Chipotle built its brand around using more natural, wholesome and fresh ingredients than fast-food competitors such as Taco Bell.

Prior to his time at Taco Bell, Niccol held leadership positions at Pizza Hut - another Yum!

Ms. Felss Masino joined Taco Bell in January from Mattel, with previous experience at Starbucks and Sprinkles Cupcakes.

Ms. Williams previously served as chief financial officer of Taco Bell, leading six years of strong sales, profit and brand growth.

Before joining Taco Bell, Williams spent six years with The Boston Consulting Group as Principal in the Consumer and Retail practices in US and Asian markets.

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