Ells retires as CEO of Chipotle could be just what the restaurant needs

Ells will remain with the company as CEO and plans to monitor innovation once a new CEO is selected.

The board of the restaurant chain has formed a committee to help find a new leader, Chipotle said. The committee includes directors Robin Hickenlooper and Ali Namvar, who were nominated and added to the Chipotle board in 2016 at the behest of activist investor Bill Ackman & # 39; s Pershing Square. Ells is also part of the committee and the recruiting firm Spencer Stuart will help in the search efforts.

"We expect the new administration to review loyalty, mobile, marketing, daylight saving strategy, management compensation, corporate hierarchy, product quality, sustainability, and a more simplified approach to configuration of the store (already underway), particularly in the morning preparation, "said Scott Mizuho.

The chain has launched several change initiatives in recent years, including a renewed advertising campaign and a national campaign launching cheese dip, which was criticized by some customers. Since then, Chipotle hinted that other new items would come, such as salads and desserts.

"In our opinion, with Ells remaining involved in establishing the food / concept vision (including oversight of how to execute the food experience within the restaurants), the addition of a complementary leader that can bring new perspectives into the effort Strengthening the operational and brand fundamentals can be a great long-term positive for the company, "wrote David Tarantino, Baird's badyst, in a research note on Wednesday.

Darren Tristano, an expert on trends in the restaurant industry, said Chipotle has the opportunity to delve into breakfast, late at night, delivering and expanding its menu.

"It will be very important for the next CEO to continue Chipotle's long-standing philosophy of integrity," he told CNBC by e-mail. "The right candidate must have a solid understanding and experience with the food service supply chain so that the brand can continue to operate without major ingredient changes and avoid potential food safety problems that have plagued them."

Food safety problems have surfaced again and again. More recently, "Supergirl" actor Jeremy Jordan said he had "almost died" after eating at one of the chain's restaurants, sending spiraling shares.

Reports continued in July where customers became ill with noroviruses in Sterling, Virginia. Then, a few days later, a viral video was launched on the cell phone that showed rodents falling from the ceiling in a restaurant near Dallas.

"The next CEO will have his work done for them"

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