Chipotle Founder Steve Ells To Be Named Sole CEO After Co-CEO Steps Down

Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. shares rose 1.7% in Monday premarket trading after the fast-casual chain announced that founder Steve Ells will be named sole chief executive. Co-CEO Monty Moran has stepped down from his role, effective immediately, and will retire from Chipotle in 2017. Ells will remain chairman of Chipotle's board. "Given the ongoing challenges facing the company, the board felt strongly that it was best for Steve to resume leadership of the company going forward," Neil Flanzraich, lead director of the board, said in a statement. Operations have become "over-complicated," Ells said in a statement. He plans to simplify operations and revamp the company's employee incentive program in an effort to improve guest experience. Ells also announced a new company mission: "Ensure that better food, prepared from whole, unprocessed ingredients is accessible to everyone." The previous mission was to "Change the way people think about and eat fast food." Chipotle has been battling back from an illness outbreak that began late 2015. Shares are down 34.5% for the past 12 months while the S&P 500 index is up 12.3% for the same period.

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