Denver — Steve Ells, chairman and CEO of Chipotle Mexican Grill — and the founder of the company in 1993 — is stepping aside as CEO. Ells will become executive chairman following the completion of a search to identify a new CEO.
“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,” says Ells. “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.”
The board has formed a search committee comprised of directors Robin Hickenlooper and Ali Namvar, as well as Ells, to identify a new leader with demonstrated turnaround expertise. The board also has retained the services of leading executive recruitment firm Spencer Stuart to assist in the search.
Founded by Steve Ells in 1993, Chipotle opened with a single restaurant in Denver and now operates more than 2,350 restaurants. For more information, visit chipotle.com.