Chipotle's new CEO draws warm welcome

13 that it has hired Taco Bell Chief Executive Brian Niccol as its next chief executive.

For years, the brass at Chipotle Mexican Grill knocked rivals' fast-food fare.

Brian Niccol Bio 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. "In addition, Niccol will bring his experience with digital innovation, having introduced mobile ordering and payment across Taco Bell's 7,000 locations in the US", writes Sarah Whitten for

Chipotle railed against Taco Bell for years, the host of CNBC's "Mad Money" continued.

Ells said in November he would step aside after failing for two years to rescue the burrito chain's sales and reputation. Niccol, who will take over March 5, is tasked with leading the 2,400-location company back to prominence after foodborne illness outbreaks at some of its restaurants in recent years tarnished its image and tanked its stock.

In its announcement, Chipotle cited Mr Niccol's experience with digital technology, restaurant operations and branding.

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Niccol was tapped as CEO after Greg Creed was promoted to CEO Yum Brands.

Chipotle just nabbed Taco Bell's top executive. For Chipotle, Niccol is "probably the most opposite guy you could possibly find", he said.

The hire seems likely to satisfy Bill Ackman, an activist investor and the CEO of Pershing Square Holdings Ltd., which purchased a 9.9 percent stake in Chipotle in September 2016. Brands' Taco Bell Division, where he was responsible for the highly successful turnaround of the business.

BTIG analyst Peter Saleh said he expected the new CEO would lean on his past success driving sales at Taco Bell by introducing breakfast, limited-time-offers and compelling marketing to help improve trends at the company. "I will also focus on dialing up Chipotle's cultural relevance through innovation in menu and digital communications".

While Niccol is "a good fit" for Chipotle, "he's got some work to do", BTIG's Saleh said. The company commissioned cutesy animated videos that pitted a food system replete with factory farms against its own sunny vision of a fresh and more ethically-pure food future.

  • Adam Floyd