Chipotle Mexican Grill hired Laurie Schalow as chief communications officer, a newly created position that will oversee all facets of Chipotle’s internal and external communications functions. Schalow comes to Chipotle from YUM! Brands where she held a variety of positions in communications, most recently serving as vice president of public affairs.
“We have been actively working to strengthen our leadership team to better prepare Chipotle for continued growth and success,” says Steve Ells, founder, chairman and CEO at Chipotle. “Laurie is an extremely talented executive, and I am confident that her broad expertise will help to strengthen our communications and better integrate all of our internal and external communications functions to amplify our messages.”
In her time at YUM!, Schalow held a variety of public affairs and communications roles in such areas as internal and external communications, crisis and issues management, corporate social responsibility, social listening, community outreach and employee relations. In her most recent position, she was responsible for building the brand reputations of more than 44,000 KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell restaurants in 140 countries.
“Chipotle is a great brand and I have been a longtime admirer of the company and its mission,” says Schalow. “There is considerable opportunity ahead for Chipotle, and I am thrilled to join the company to help shape and strengthen its strategic communications in support of a very important vision to make great tasting food, made with real, whole ingredients available to everyone.”
Schalow’s appointment is part of a broader, ongoing effort from Chipotle to strengthen its leadership. The company added four new directors to its board in late 2016, and named its first ever chief restaurant officer in May 2017.
Schalow holds bachelor’s degrees from Miami University, Oxford, Ohio, and a master’s degree from Wayne State University, Detroit. In her new position, Schalow will work from the company’s Denver headquarters and report directly to Ells.