Chipotle to replace founder and CEO Steve Ells

Chipotle on Broadway and 6th. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

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Chipotle says it is looking for a new CEO, with its founder transitioning to executive chairman once someone new is in place at the top post.

Steve Ells, who currently serves as chairman and CEO, started the casual dining chain with a single restaurant in Denver in 1993.

Chipotle said Wednesday that the CEO search committee, which includes Ells, is looking for someone with turnaround expertise in part to help address the challenges facing the company, build customer trust and improve sales.

Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. is still struggling to turn its business around after a series of food safety scares. The burrito chain reported disappointing third-quarter results in October.