Chipotle brings on Bloomin’ Brands exec Chris Brandt as chief marketing officer
His appointment comes as Chipotle struggles to revamp its image after a spate of foodborne illnesses at the chain sickened hundreds of people across the country in 2015.
Brandt joins from Bloomin' Brands, the parent company of restaurant chains including Outback Steakhouse, Carrabba's, Bonefish Grill, and Fleming's. Before his nearly two-year stint at Bloomin’ Brands, he served as Taco Bell’s chief marketing officer.
He will report to Brian Niccol, who left the top post at Taco Bell earlier this year to join Chipotle as chief executive. Niccol and Brandt worked together during their time Taco Bell.
"Having worked with Chris in the past, I have seen first-hand his ability to generate sales overnight and build brands over time,” said Niccol in a statement. “His experience and expertise make him an ideal fit for our leadership team at Chipotle as we look to reinvigorate this exceptional brand, and build sales, transactions and profitability."
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"I have admired the Chipotle brand both as a consumer and a marketer over the years," added Brandt. "I'm excited to join the company during this pivotal time and to work with the rest of the leadership team to help reignite the brand and increase relevance with consumers.”
Last month, Chipotle posted better-than-expected fourth-quarter earnings. Same-store sales were up 0.9% for the quarter.