Chipotle names former Yum! Brands executive as CEO

Chiptole has struggled to navigate through problems regarding food safety over the last few years

Chiptole has struggled to navigate through problems regarding food safety over the last few years

Under Niccol's leadership, Taco Bell has been one of the bright spots in USA quick-service restaurants.

The food chain said Brian Niccol, the CEO of Taco Bell, will come to the chair at Chipotle as CEO on 5 March. In particular, we're interested in following the story surrounding the appointment of Brian Niccol and the changes he makes to the company as the CEO.

Investors overwhelmingly approved of Niccol - but were cautiously optimistic about his ability to fix a broken brand that has not fully recovered since a series of food-borne illnesses wreaked havoc on the company in 2015.

ABOUT CHIPOTLESteve Ells, founder, chairman and CEO, started Chipotle with the idea that food served fast did not have to be a typical fast food experience. "He also led the acceleration of Taco Bell's expansion plans overseas".

While Chipotle excelled by promoting organic produce and antibiotic-free meat to distance itself from fast food, Niccol used feisty marketing and unusual food creations, such as the Doritos tacos and Nacho Fries, to excite customers.

"[Niccol's] expertise in digital technologies, restaurant operations and branding make him a flawless fit for Chipotle as we seek to enhance our customer experience, drive sales growth and make our brand more relevant. This will attract customers, return the brand to growth, deliver value for shareholders and create opportunities for employees".

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In 2011, Yum Brands said in its annual report that Taco Bell was "under-performing" in the United States, with same-store sales down 1% and profit down 12%.

"Niccol was critical to Taco Bell's turnaround, but we note CMG is starting in a position of far greater weakness", Cowen analyst Andrew Charles said.

Chipotle shares rose by 11.4 percent during Wednesday's pre-market hours.

"From the beginning of the search for a new CEO, we noted that we wanted an experienced leader with a passion for driving excellence across every aspect of our business, and that was a top consideration for the search committee throughout the process".

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

Felss Masino is president of Taco Bell's North American division; she joined the company in January after stints with Mattel's Fisher-Price unit and Starbucks, and as chief executive of Sprinkles Cupcakes Inc. And, marketing could be a challenge, as Chipotle has shied away from traditional advertising for years.

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