Chipotle Mexican Grill has hired former Taco Bell marketing chief Chris Brandt to be its new CMO, effective April 2. The news comes shortly after former Chipotle marketing exec Mark Crumpacker resigned from the company.
Brandt most recently worked at Bloomin’ Brands, where he served as evp, chief brand officer for Outback Steakhouse, Carrabba’s, Bonefish Grill and Fleming’s. Prior to that, Brandt spent three years as CMO of Taco Bell and before that he was the senior director, vp of brand marketing. Brandt has also spent time at General Mills and The Coca-Cola Company.
“Chris is an extremely talented and effective marketing executive. Having worked with Chris in the past, I have seen first-hand his ability to generate sales overnight and build brands over time. 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,” Brian Niccol, CEO of Chipotle, said in a statement.
Bradnt will report directly to Niccol, another recent hire for the brand.
The new marketing chief joins Chipotle as it continues to face a number of challenges. In the summer of 2016, Crumpacker was indicted as part of a drug ring bust in New York for being an alleged repeat cocaine buyer. Chipotle placed Crumpacker on leave for a few months, but he eventually returned to the position before resigning last week. Then there’s also the string of food scares at Chipotle locations to consider. Brandt seems up for the challenge though.
“I have admired the Chipotle brand both as a consumer and a marketer over the years. 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,” Brandt said in a statement.