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Chipotle Seeking New Board Member in Response to Investor Criticism

CtW Investment Group Claims Insular Board Holding Back Chain's Turnaround

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Chipotle Mexican Grill is looking for another director to round out its nine-person board, responding to investors' criticism that its insular board is hindering the burrito chain's turnaround.

"We are interviewing for a new board member now and considering additional board changes to meet longer-term needs," Chris Arnold, a company spokesman, said in an email. The company also is adding proxy-access provisions recommended by shareholders at its annual meeting -- a move that will make it easier for investors to suggest proposals.

The chain is still recovering from a string of foodborne-illness outbreaks that began last year. Despite increased marketing and free-food promotions, same-store sales fell 23.6% in the second quarter. In April, CtW Investment Group, a firm affiliated with union-backed Change to Win, said that Chipotle should replace two long-term directors and add new people to the company's all-white, mostly male board.

Chipotle last year added former Best Buy and Symantec executive Stephen Gillett as a director. Founder and co-CEO Steve Ells has been chairman since 2005.

"We have been active in communicating with our shareholders and, as we generally do, are taking action based on their feedback," Mr. Arnold said.

-- Bloomberg News