The company said it plans to recruit a CEO with "demonstrated turnaround expertise." So far, it's unclear if the move will result in any noticeable changes at Chipotle restaurants for customers. At the time of this writing, Chipotle's stock had surged more than 4%, following the news.
The company's announcement also included praise for Ells from the Board of Directors.
"Steve is a visionary leader and one of the most successful restaurateurs in history, having grown Chipotle from a single restaurant in Colorado to more than 2,350 restaurants today," Chipotle's Lead Director Neil W. Flanzraich said in a statement. "Steve made the decision, and the Board agreed, that now is the right time to identify a new CEO who can reinvigorate the brand and help the company achieve its potential. We are committed to recruiting a world-class CEO for this incredible opportunity."
Ells claims his new role will allow him to focus on his strengths and said bringing in a new CEO is "the right thing to do" for the company's customers, employees, and shareholders.
"Chipotle has vast unrealized potential," he said. "As we work hard to restore our brand, I believe we can capitalize on opportunities, including in areas such as the digital experience, menu innovation, delivery, catering, and domestic and international expansion, to deliver significant growth.”
For everyday Chipotle burrito eaters, perhaps the shuffle will result in better customer service and additional new menu items. We're still holding out for nacho bowls, of course.