Chipotle CEO, AI Salaries, Working With the Flu: CEO Daily for February 14, 2018 – Fortune

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Good morning. Fortune digital editor Andrew Nusca here in place of Alan, who is taking a much-deserved day off.

Chipotle, the popular fast casual food chain, named a new CEO late yesterday. Brian Niccol, CEO of Taco Bell, replaces Chipotle founder Steve Ells, who becomes the company’s executive chairman. Wall Street applauded the news; Chipotle’s slumping stock price shot up by as much as 12% in after-hours trading.

Don’t let the Mexi-inspired commonalities fool you—Ells and Niccol couldn’t be more different. Ells, 51, is the exacting chef-turned-entrepreneur-turned-executive who founded Chipotle in 1993. Niccol, 43, is a corporate fixture who spent a decade managing brands at P&G before six years at Pizza Hut and seven at Taco Bell, two as its CEO. One man brought forth a fast-casual revolution; another crafted a quick-service evolution.

But evolution is exactly what Chipotle needs right now. The chain’s scale—it now has more than 2,400 locations—long ago outran Ells, leading to 2015 and 2017 food safety scares that sullied the brand’s reputation for quality among consumers. Tapping Niccol, who presided over some 7,000 Taco Bell locations and repositioned the brand as a lifestyle choice, is the jolt of operational experience Chipotle needs.

Will Ells give Niccol enough room to revive the burrito purveyor? If he’s a student of business history, he will—founder-CEOs are rare for good reason. Because the only thing worse than a stomach bug that won’t quit is an executive that does the same.

Oh, and one more thing: We are proud to announce that Fortune’s next Global Forum will be held from Oct. 15 to 17 in Toronto. Our long-running Global Forum brings together CEOs and government leaders to discuss key business issues and topics of interest. Expect energy, infrastructure, and technology to feature in our Canadian program.

Today’s news below.

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