September 12, 1966 |
Indianapolis, Indiana, U.S.
|Alma mater||University of Colorado at Boulder (B.A.)
Culinary Institute of America
|Known for||Founding Chipotle Mexican Grill|
|Net worth||US$400 million|
Steve Ells (born September 12, 1966) is an American businessman. He is the founder, CEO, and Chairman of Chipotle Mexican Grill. Ells founded Chipotle in 1993 and under his direction the chain serves what it describes as "naturally raised meat" and promotes sustainable agriculture.
Ells was born in Indianapolis, the son of a pharmaceutical executive. He attended Boulder High School, the University of Colorado at Boulder (receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree in Art History) and Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, graduating in 1990.
Ells served for two years as a sous chef under Jeremiah Tower at Stars restaurant in San Francisco prior to launching Chipotle and now sits on the board of directors of the Land Institute. He borrowed money from family and friends to open the first Chipotle.
We decided long ago that we didn't want Chipotle's success to be tied to the exploitation of animals, farmers, or the environment, but the engagement of our customers.— Steve Ells
In 2007, Ells received the CEO of the Year Award from ColoradoBiz magazine.
Ells has received criticism over his salary. In 2013, The New York Times reported he was paid $25.1 million, more than equivalent executives in companies like Ford, Boeing, and AT&T. By the early 2010s, Ells and his co-chief, Montgomery Moran, were paid more than $300 million. In May 2014 shareholders rejected a plan to further the executives' wages.
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