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Rubio’s promotes Marc Simon to CEO

Daniel Pittard has stepped down as president and chief executive of Rubio’s Fresh Mexican Grill and been replaced by former chief operating officer Marc Simon, the fast-casual chain said Friday.

Pittard, who has served for five years at Rubio’s parent Rubio’s Restaurants Inc., will remain on the company’s board of directors. He led the more than 200-unit chain through last year’s $91 million buyout by private-equity firm Mill Road Capital LP.

Simon was named chief operating officer of Rubio’s in September 2009 and previously served as the company’s senior vice president of operations.

Before joining Rubio’s, Simon was vice president of corporate development at McDonald’s Corp., where he worked on that chain’s investment in Chipotle Mexican Grill. He later helped Chipotle develop new units in such markets as Chicago, Minneapolis and Wisconsin. McDonald’s later sold Chipotle, which is now a public company based in Denver.

Simon’s resume also includes stints as chief executive of America’s 2 Incredible Pizza Co. and as a strategic planning specialist at Ernst & Young LLP.

“I am very excited to assume the role of CEO,” Simon said in a statement. “[Founder] Ralph Rubio has built an iconic brand that stands for the quality, taste and spirit of San Diego. I am very optimistic about the long-term opportunities for Rubio’s and feel fortunate to be supported by an outstanding group of executives and team members.”

Based in Carlsbad, Calif., the Rubio’s chain has restaurants in California, Arizona, Colorado, Utah and Nevada.

Contact Lisa Jennings at [email protected].

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