About 10 days into officially being CEO of Chipotle (CMG) , former Taco Bell head Brian Niccol is wasting no time cleaning house.
The struggling burrito and salad bowl player canned chief marketing officer Mark Crumpacker on Wednesday. Crumpacker, chief architect of Chipotle's failed efforts to turn itself around after several E.Coli outbreaks, had been employed at the company since Jan. 2009.
On Feb. 14, we wrote an op-ed for our sister publication RealMoney on the need for Niccol to clean house immediately. Chipotle investors should be encouraged by this first move. Below are several excerpts from that op-ed.
"CLEAN HOUSE in the executive ranks, and do it quickly. This comes from someone who has obsessively followed Chipotle for years, first as an analyst and then as a reporter.
This house cleaning should start with Chipotle's controversial marketing executive Mark Crumpacker. Crumpacker is Steve Ells' boy, and has failed at reviving the brand after the E.Coli crisis. He has been allowed to stay too long given his mixed performance and deserves a good part of the blame for Chipotle's margin downtrend.
After giving Crumpacker his pink slip, Niccol should consider cleaning house in the communications department. Chipotle always had an air of arrogance when times were good, that's not a good message to be communicating. Because when times get bad (as they did at Chipotle), it sets up the company for all sorts of attacks (Wall Street, media, etc.).
The company has continued to have that arrogance straight through its post E.Coli outbreak period. Instead of humbling up like an Under Armour (UAA) after a tough time, Chipotle still thinks it's the only fast-food player on the planet. Moreover, Chipotle's crisis management communications during the E.Coli outbreak were terrible -- it never regained the narrative, it was as if the company was operating on a different planet."
Watch below for our segment explaining this op-ed.