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Chipotle taps former Taco Bell boss as new CEO

Mexican burrito chain Chipotle Mexican Grill has poached former Taco Bell boss Brian Niccol, to be its new chief executive. Niccol, who will replace Ch...

Laura Mullan
|Feb 15|magazine4 min read

Mexican burrito chain Chipotle Mexican Grill has poached former Taco Bell boss Brian Niccol, to be its new chief executive. 

Niccol, who will replace Chipotle’s founder Steve Ells as CEO on March 5, is tasked with reviving the struggling burrito chain following a series of food safety issues and a dip in sales. 

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The fast-food veteran has run Taco Bell for three years and, under his leadership, the chain has been the most successful in the portfolio of Yum Brands Inc., who also own quick service restaurant (QSR) chains Pizza Hut and KFC. 

At Taco Bell, Niccol introduced mobile ordering and payment across 7,000 of the chain’s US locations. He also helped to reach an agreement to finance new tech initiatives including self-serve kiosks and delivery. 

Ells, who founded the Mexican eatery in 1993, said he would step down after Chipotle found a CEO. 

“While we are continuing to make progress, it is clear that we need to move faster to make improvements," said Ells in a statement.

"Bringing in a new CEO is the right thing to do for all our stakeholders. It will allow me to focus on my strengths, which include bringing innovation to the way we source and prepare our food.."