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    Chipotle Longtime CMO Mark Crumpacker Stepping Down

  • Crumpacker has led the chain's marketing efforts since 2009.

    Chipotle
    Mark Crumpacker's resignation will take effect March 15.

    Brian Niccol’s Chipotle revamp won’t include longtime marketing boss Mark Crumpacker. Chipotle revealed in a securities filing Wednesday (March 14) that Crumpacker, the chain’s chief marketing officer since January 2009, was resigning from the company, effective March 15.

    This agreement entitles Crumpacker to cash severance totaling 26 weeks of pay at his base salary. He’s also allowed a period of 12 months to exercise vested stock-only stock appreciation rights.  The agreement prevents Crumpacker from working for another restaurant company for a year as well.

    “The agreement also provides that for a one-year period following his resignation, Mr. Crumpacker will not directly or indirectly, own, manage, operate, control, be employed, or engaged in any capacity [whether or not for compensation] by, or render services, advice, or assistance in any capacity to, a business operating fast-casual, quick-service or casual dining restaurants in the continental United States where Chipotle or any of its affiliates conduct business, or solicit or hire Chipotle’s employees, or induce any of Chipotle’s suppliers, licensees, or other business relations to cease doing business with Chipotle or interfere with the relationship between any such supplier, licensee, or other business relation and Chipotle,” the filing said.

    On January 5, Crumpacker entered into a retention agreement where he agreed to receive $600,000 for remaining with Chipotle through January 5, 2019. This retention bonus would vest if Crumpacker was terminated without cause, which the document said is the case.

    This agreement was made while Chipotle searched for a new CEO in the wake of founder Steve Ells’ announcement he would step down and assume a chairman position. The company said it would name former Taco Bell CEO Niccol its next leader in mid-February, a move that took effect March 5.

    Crumpacker helmed Chipotle’s marketing efforts through some turbulent times.  He was credited for helping the chain rebuild its image following the 2015 E. coli outbreak that hit 14 states and erased around half of the chain’s market cap. A rough 2017 tumbled shares as Chipotle responded to norovirus concerns in Sterling, Virginia, and other public relations setbacks.  Shares are down more than 20 percent for the past year.

    Crumpacker was also placed on leave by the company in 2016 following a July arrest where he was charged with seven counts of cocaine possession. Crumpacker completed a rehabilitation program and was reinstated by the company three months after being placed on leave. He pleaded guilty that January and prosecutors agreed to dismiss the case if he received treatment for a year and stayed out of trouble.

    Before joining Chipotle, Crumpacker cofounded a San Francisco-based branding firm, Sequence, where he worked from 2002–2008.