The company is struggling to recover from a string of food
safety lapses that have damaged its sales and reputation and led
to a slide in its stock price as well.
Chipotle's shares were up 4.4 percent at $298.40 in premarket
trading on Wednesday, coming off a trading halt.
Ells will stay on as executive chairman. He was Chipotle's CEO
from 1993 until 2009, when he started sharing the role with
Seven years later, Ells became sole CEO after the board fired
Moran amid intense pressure to turn around the burrito chain
after a string of food safety lapses.
It had also named new board members following pressure from
activist investor Bill Ackman.
"Bringing in a new CEO is the right thing to do for all our
stakeholders," Ells said in a statement.
He said the move will help him focus on bringing innovation to
Chipotle's sourcing and food preparation and that Chipotle could
capitalize on opportunities, including in menu innovation,
delivery, catering, and domestic and international expansion.
Chipotle said it had formed a search committee comprised of
directors Robin Hickenlooper and Ali Namvar, as well as Ells, to
identify a new CEO.
(Reporting by Sruthi Ramakrishnan in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio
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