Chipotle Mexican Grill says Chief Marketing and Strategy Officer Mark Crumpacker is leaving the beleaguered company effective March 15.
The departure, called a resignation in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, comes after a tumultuous few years for both the company and Crumpacker. In 2016, as Chipotle was busy trying to recover from the foodborne illness issues that led to steep declines in its sales and stock price, Crumpacker was arrested on cocaine possession charges. The charges were dropped in January of this year. His resignation also comes not long after former Taco Bell CEO Brian Niccol came to Chipotle as its CEO on March 5.
Chipotle needs fresh ways to win back diners who have cut down on or eliminated visits to the chain and has ramped up advertising and giveaways in the years since its struggles began.
"Mark has been a valued member of our leadership team and played an integral role in shaping and defining the Chipotle brand, and we thank him for his contributions," Chipotle said in a statement. "We have a very talented marketing team in place and we'll continue our existing programs while we finalize the plans for a new CMO."
According to the SEC filing, the agreement between Chipotle and Crumpacker includes a one-year non-compete agreement. Crumpacker gets 26 weeks of cash severance at his base salary and 12 months to exercise vested stock-only stock appreciation rights, rather than 90 days. (Crumpacker's total compensation exceeded $4.9 million in 2016, according to a proxy filing the company made in March 2017. That filing also shows Crumpacker's base salary at $600,000 in 2016.)
Crumpacker also releases any legal claims against Chipotle, and "will not disparage Chipotle or interfere with its relationships with customers, suppliers, shareholders or the public, and agrees to hold certain information about Chipotle confidential, subject to exceptions to ensure compliance with applicable law," the company said in the SEC filing.
Crumpacker had been the company's CMO since January 2009.