Skip to Main Content
Campus Announcements

Chipotle’s Chairman and CEO Brian Niccol ’96 to address Miami University graduates

Spring Commencement will be held on May 18, 2024

Campus Announcements

Chipotle’s Chairman and CEO Brian Niccol ’96 to address Miami University graduates

Brian Niccol ’96, chairman and chief executive officer of Chipotle Mexican Grill, will give the keynote address at Miami University’s Spring Commencement at 10:30 a.m. on May 18 in Yager Stadium.

“It is quite an honor to serve as a commencement speaker, and I am humbled by the invitation,” said Niccol, who became CEO of Chipotle in 2018 and chairman of its board of directors in 2020.

Brian NiccolAfter graduating from Miami, Niccol worked his way through several brand management positions at Procter & Gamble over the next decade. He became vice president at Yum! Brands in 2005, where he held several executive positions at Pizza Hut, including chief marketing officer and general manager until 2011. After that, Niccol served as chief marketing and innovation officer, president and then CEO at Taco Bell before joining Chipotle in 2018.

As chairman and CEO of Chipotle, he is responsible for driving the brand’s purpose to Cultivate a Better World, the overall brand strategy and performance of approximately 3,400 restaurants in North America and Europe. Under Niccol’s leadership, Chipotle’s business has more than doubled and the stock price is up over 600%. 

Niccol recently recalled feeling a sense of optimism and achievement at his own graduation from Miami.

“I had a real sense of accomplishment, thinking I showed up at Morris Hall (residence hall) not really knowing anyone and unsure of what the next four years would entail,” he said. “I ended up with great friends, great memories, immeasurable learnings, and a lot of pride in being part of Miami.”

Niccol, who earned a bachelor’s degree in Applied Science, Engineering Management, said a marketing class in the Farmer School of Business opened his eyes to a possible new career path.

“I proceeded to keep taking electives in the business school. I enrolled in Economics classes, Accounting classes, and Marketing classes,” he told business students during a 2019 visit to the Farmer School of Business.

Niccol has maintained a strong connection to his alma mater.

Thanks to a recent $2 million gift from Niccol and his wife, Jennifer ’97, Miami University head men’s basketball coach Travis Steele is strengthening both the team’s recruitment and retention efforts.

The Niccol Family Basketball Award for Excellence in Academics and Athletics is now part of the Miami University Graduating Champions Academic Achievement Program.

“Part of the reason we give back is because I wouldn't be where I am today if not for going to Miami and having professors who pointed me in the direction of the career that I'm in today,” he said.

Besides his bachelor’s degree from Miami, Niccol holds an MBA from the University of Chicago.