The addition of new members to Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc.’s board brings new blood to a group that includes many long-time members.
On Friday, Chipotle announced the long-awaited changes to the board, adding four new members, including a representative of Pershing Square Capital Management, an activist investment firm that holds a nearly 10-percent stake in the company and is Chipotle’s largest investor.
Chipotle lost one board member earlier this week with the resignation of co-CEO Monty Moran.
Over the past few months, activist shareholders have pushed Chipotle to make changes, not only by adding diversity, but also by bringing a fresh perspective and more expertise to the Denver-based chain as it struggles to overcome a foodborne illness crisis last year.
All board members in place prior to Friday’s announcement are white. The remaining eight existing board members at the time have a median tenure of 17 years on the board, and included one woman.
CEO Steve Ells earlier this week described Chipotle as suffering from a degradation of the guest experience, and vowed to refocus the chain on customer service.
Here’s a closer look at the new board members:
Ali Namvar is a partner at Pershing Square who joined the investment firm in 2006. He is credited with playing an instrumental role in a number of Pershing Square investments over the years, including at McDonald’s and Wendy’s International, as well as Kraft Foods, Procter & Gamble and Mondelez International.
In a separate filing, Pershing Square said Namvar will resign from Chipotle’s board if the investment firm’s holding falls below 5 percent.
In exchange for the board seats, Pershing Square has agreed to be silent publicly about the company for two years, according to The Wall Street Journal. It will also be restricted from boosting its stake above 12.9 percent during that period.
Paull is actually a returning board member, having served on Chipotle’s board previously when it was owned by McDonald’s from 1998 to 2006, when Chipotle became a separate public company. He also sits on several other boards, including Air Products, Canadian Pacific, and KapStone Paper and Packaging Corp. He served previously on the boards of WMS Industries and Best Buy Co.
From 1991 to 1993, Cappuccio was associate deputy attorney general for the U.S. Department of Justice, where he advised attorney general William Barr on issues related to judicial selection, civil litigation, antitrust and civil rights.
Chipotle said he brings significant large public company experience to the board, including transactional, financial, strategic and corporate governance knowledge.
Cappuccio’s background could also prove beneficial as Chipotle faces an ongoing criminal investigation tied to the foodborne illness crisis by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in central California in conjunction with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s office of criminal investigations.
She is also the First Lady of Colorado as wife of Gov. John Hickenlooper.
Chipotle said she brings corporate development and financial expertise.
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