Denver — Chipotle Mexican Grill’s board of directors has appointed Brian Niccol as CEO and a member of the board, effective March 5, 2018. Niccol most recently served as CEO of Yum! Brands’ Taco Bell division.
Prior to joining Chipotle, Niccol was at Taco Bell from 2011 and served as CEO from January 2015 and president from 2013 to 2014. Under his leadership, he repositioned Taco Bell as a lifestyle brand and launched numerous product initiatives, including the new breakfast daypart. He transformed Taco Bell into a social media leader and revolutionized its digital approach through mobile ordering and payment across its 7,000 restaurants.
Prior to Taco Bell, Niccol held leadership roles at Pizza Hut, including vice president of strategy, chief marketing officer and general manager.
Chipotle opened with a single restaurant in Denver in 1993 and now operates more than 2,400 restaurants.
As a result of the move, Julie Felss Masino, president of Irvine, Calif.-headquartered Taco Bell North America, and Liz Williams, president of Taco Bell International, will assume leadership of the Taco Bell division in their respective roles, reporting to Yum! Brands CEO Greg Creed.
Masino joined Taco Bell in January 2018 from Mattel and, prior to that, has extensive experience in the restaurant industry including Starbucks and Sprinkles Cupcakes.
As president of Taco Bell International, Williams is responsible for the brand strategy and performance of the international business. Prior to this role, Williams was the Taco Bell CFO. Before joining Taco Bell, Williams spent six years with The Boston Consulting Group (BCG).
Taco Bell Corp., a subsidiary of Yum! Brands, Inc., is the nation’s leading Mexican-inspired quick-service restaurant (QSR) brand. Globally, Taco Bell has nearly 7,000 restaurants, including more than 400 restaurants outside the U.S.
Yum! Brands, Inc., based in Louisville, Ky., has over 45,000 restaurants in more than 135 countries and territories. The company’s main restaurant brands are KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell.