Chipotle is moving its headquarters from Denver to Newport Beach, California, in a decision that is arguably the most momentous of Brian Niccol’s brief tenure as CEO.
The company’s new Orange County headquarters will fold in departments from both its Denver and New York City offices including finance, supply chain, food safety, technology, human resources, and business development, among other functions.
In a statement, Niccol cited a need for revitalization and sustainable growth as key drivers for the relocation.
“We'll always be proud of our Denver roots where we opened our first restaurant 25 years ago,” Niccol said. "In order to align the structure around our strategic priorities, we are transforming our culture and building world-class teams to revitalize the brand and enable our long-term success.”
In addition to the move, Chipotle will close its Denver and New York offices, which will affect some 400 corporate employees; an undisclosed amount of whom are being offered relocation packages. Functions not rolled over to Newport Beach will be consolidated in Columbus, Ohio, where the company’s shared services center expects to grow its workforce from 100 to more than 250.
“The consolidation of offices and the move to California will help us drive sustainable growth while continuing to position us well in the competition for top talent," Niccol said.
Before taking the helm at Chipotle, Niccol had served as chief executive at Taco Bell, also based in Orange County. He has already installed fellow Yum! Brands alums in key roles including Chris Brandt as CMO and Tressie Lieberman as executive director of customer engagement marketing. Niccol’s comment about attracting top talent could suggest he already has additional hires in mind.
Chipotle is not the first fast casual to relocate to the Golden State. D.C.-born Two years ago Sweetgreen moved its corporate offices to Los Angeles to accelerate growth; California was also the home state of its cofounders.
The brand will reveal more details of its relocation during a special investor call next month.