Chipotle Mexican Grill has named Stephen Piacentini as its new chief development officer, effective June 19. He will report to chief brand officer Chris Brandt.
Piacentini most recently served as the U.S. Chief Development Officer at The Wendy’s Company, where he spent more than four years leading the development of new restaurants in the U.S. by partnering with existing franchisees, recruiting new franchisees, and activating real estate opportunities. He also launched programs designed to help franchisees build their restaurant portfolios and supported the brand’s global expansion.
“Stephen’s development experience will be instrumental for Chipotle as our organization enters its highest growth period in history,” Brandt said in a statement. “His expertise in domestic and international markets will help us accomplish our goal of increasing access to our real food around the world.”
Prior to his time at The Wendy’s Company, Piacentini served as the Chief Development Officer at Jimmy John’s and spent more than 13 years at Taco Bell, holding various positions in finance and development.
“From afar, I’ve always admired Chipotle’s unwavering commitment to its purpose and its employees,” Piacentini said in a statement. “This is a rare opportunity to grow an iconic brand’s footprint in North America and beyond, and I can’t wait to get to work.”
Piacentini succeeds Tabassum Zalotrawala, who left in March to join McDonald’s as its chief development officer. His appointment comes as Chipotle targets about 7,000 North American restaurants, from its current 3,200-plus units. Most of those locations are expected to be in the company’s mobile-order-ahead Chipotle format, which has generated higher sales and margins than traditional locations.
Stephen holds a B.S. in Economics and Politics from Pitzer College, and a Master of Business, Economics and Politics degree from The Drucker School of Management at Claremont Graduate University.
Contact Alicia Kelso at [email protected]