Financing

Chipotle’s CEO made $38M in 2020

The fast casual’s stock has risen more than 350% since Brian Niccol took over in 2018.
Photograph: Shutterstock

2020 was a very lucrative year for Chipotle Mexican Grill CEO Brian Niccol.

Niccol, who joined the chain in 2018, received $38 million in total compensation during a pandemic year in which the fast casual’s stock has surged more than 58% over its pre-pandemic peak, according to federal financial filing released Monday.

It’s the most Niccol has been paid since he was hired by Chipotle.

Niccol was to have received just $14 million in pay in 2020, but the company waived financial targets set in 2018 because of the pandemic. Chipotle argued that the company outperformed many of its peers over the past year.

Niccol’s pay was made up of long-term incentives (69%), annual bonus (22%) and base salary (9%).

Chipotle CFO Jack Hartung earned a total of $19 million in 2020; Curt Garner, chief technology officer, made $17.1 million; COO Scott Boatwright received $11.9 million; and CMO Chris Brandt earned $10.9 million, according to the filing.

Niccol made 2,898 times the median compensation of a Chipotle worker in 2020.

In 2019, Niccol earned $16.1 million in total compensation, or 1,136 times that of the median yearly pay for one of the chain’s workers.

The prior year, Niccol received $33.5 million.

Niccol’s $38 million paycheck is not a record for the chain when it comes to CEO compensation. In 2014, co-CEO Steve Ells earned $29 million, and his fellow CEO Monty Moran got $28.2 million, for a combined pay package of $57 million.

Despite the pandemic, Newport Beach, Calif.-based Chipotle performed exceptionally well in 2020, with the brand’s stock up more than 350% since Niccol took the helm. On Monday morning, Chipotle’s stock was trading at nearly $1,450 per share.

Chipotle has seen its digital sales jump 174% year-over-year to $2.8 billion and it has added more than 10 million members to its loyalty program.

Compensation in 2021 for the chain’s executives will be tied, in part, to metrics around diversity and sustainability goals, the chain announced last month.

“The progress made in 2020 has set us up for a strong performance in 2021,” Niccol said in a letter to shareholders. “Our results demonstrate that Chipotle can deliver an outstanding performance in any environment …”

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