Let Them Eat Tacos: Chipotle Board Wildly Overpays the CEO Because Pandemic

Chipotle’s board has decided that their CEO deserves extra pay due to the pressures of the pandemic. So, “we made “COVID-related modifications” to CEO’s performance shares that increase the total level of his reported compensation from $14.8 M to $38 M.”

Compensation Committee:

Chairman: Neil W. Flanraich

Patricia Fili-Krushel

Greg Engles 

Mauricio Guttierez

The board says:

Our performance-based annual and long-term incentive compensation plans were designed with high upside leverage and corresponding downside performance risk to drive our aggressive turnaround strategy. Financial goals for performance periods ending in 2020 were approved before the onset of the pandemic and set at levels designed to drive the types of returns ultimately delivered to our shareholders. COVID-19 negatively impacted the achievement of the financial metrics that determine executive pay delivery under the plans. This included the effect of government restrictions imposed as a result of the pandemic, where we were required to completely close some of our restaurants, close many of our dining rooms and offer only takeout and delivery, and/or implement modified work hours. Staffing shortages caused by COVID-19 also forced us to close additional restaurants, limit service options and modify our operating hours. At the same time, we rewarded shareholders with top-of-the-market returns and grew our workforce, while providing pay enhancements and well-being protections for our employees. Although the specific performance metrics set in 2018 were not fully achieved due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the leadership team achieved the underlying ultimate goal of turning around the business and delivering industry-leading shareholder value creation.

Rosanna Landis Weaver notes:

“A median employee at @Chipotle would have to work 2,898 years to make what the CEO did last year. In other words, if an imaginary immortal person had been paid that $13K since the year one, they would still have 827 more years to work to make what CEO made in 2020.”

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