After only a few months on the job, it appears that Chipotle Mexican Grill’s new CEO Brian Niccol is homesick for Southern California.
The Denver-based fast-casual chain announced plans to relocate its Colorado headquarters to Newport Beach, Calif.
"We have a tremendous opportunity at Chipotle to shape the future of our organization and drive growth through our new strategy," Niccol said in a prepared statement released Wednesday afternoon. “In order to align the structure around our strategic priorities, we are transforming our culture and building world-class teams to revitalize the brand and enable our long-term success.”
Niccol, previously CEO of Irvine, Calif.-based Taco Bell, has served as Chipotle CEO since March. Taco Bell’s corporate offices are less than 15 miles from Newport Beach, Calif. Niccol lived in the posh beach city, known for its luxury seaside homes, and shopping centers.
This move impacts roughly 400 employees in Denver and New York. Some will be offered relocation and retention packages. The 70,000 field operations and restaurant employees are not part of this reorganization, Chipotle said.
Chipotle said functions within the current Denver office, and another office in New York, will either be consolidated in Chipotle's existing office in Columbus, Ohio or moved to Newport Beach. Following the transition, the offices in Denver and New York will close.
"We'll always be proud of our Denver roots where we opened our first restaurant 25 years ago. The consolidation of offices and the move to California will help us drive sustainable growth while continuing to position us well in the competition for top talent," Niccol said.
The relocation will occur over the next six months, Chipotle said.
Newport Beach will serve as the headquarters for the company's operations, business development, marketing, communications, finance, supply chain, food safety, technology, HR and other corporate functions.
Support functions will be located in Columbus.
Chipotle said it will provide more details about the organizational changes tied to the relocation during a special investor call scheduled for June 27, 2018.
Steve Ells opened the first Chipotle in Denver in 1993.
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