High praise for Chipotle after CEO hiring


"I am very excited to be joining Chipotle at this pivotal time in its history", Niccol said in a news release.

Shares in Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc (NYSE:CMG) caught fire overnight on Tuesday after the burrito chain revealed it was bringing in Taco Bell boss Brian Niccol as its new chief executive.

Niccol most recently served as CEO of Irvine, Calif. -based Taco Bell Corp., the division of Yum!

Current CEO Steve Ells announced in November 2017 he would leave the chain when a suitable replacement was found.

In a statement, Chipotle praised Niccol's expertise in digital technologies and branding.

Niccol said in the statement, "At Chipotle's core is delicious food, which I will look to pair up with consistently great customer experiences".

Turning to someone with Niccol's experience - he previously held leadership roles at Pizza Hut and consumer-products giant Proctor & Gamble - is good news to Chipotle investors, University of Denver assistant business professor Paul Seaborn said. He added he would focus on the cultural relevance of Chipotle through menu innovations and digital communications.

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The CEO of Taco Bell is moving to a rival restaurant chain. "This will attract customers, return the brand to growth, deliver value for shareholders and create opportunities for employees".

Niccol joined Taco Bell in 2011, taking the helm four years later.

Chipotle is definitely hoping to win back millennial customers it lost to Taco Bell.

As of December 31, Chipotle, founded in 1993, had 2,406 restaurants.

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

Niccol was responsible for introducing mobile ordering and payment across Taco Bell's 7,000 locations across the US.