- Volvo Cars announced it hired Atif Rafiq as its senior vice president of IT and chief digital officer (CDO). Rafiq previously worked for McDonald’s, where he served as that company’s CDO since 2013 and led projects designed to transform consumer experience though technology.
- Rafiq will oversee the company’s digital transformation, including consumer-facing programs and enterprise systems, Volvo said. Volvo president and CEO Håkan Samuelsson said in a statement that Rafiq is "ideally qualified" to help his company accomplish its digital goals.
- "I believe the automotive industry faces its biggest inflection point in literally 100 years," Rafiq said in an announcement. "Whether it’s new technologies like computer vision and machine learning, or changing consumer behaviors around sharing and mobility, the scope for leveraging digitization is huge."
Volvo is pushing tech hard as it works to reinvent itself. The company is piloting a number of customer apps as well as a self-driving car pilot called Drive Me.
Rafiq has a long history in Silicon Valley and in helping companies implement new technologies. While at McDonald's, he spearheaded the rollout of digital ordering. Before that he worked for Amazon.com, Google, Yahoo and AOL. The car industry is one area Refiq hasn’t yet tried.
Rafiq is one of several CDOs hired by major companies in recent months. CDOs tend to serve as a bridge between IT and business groups, and the hiring of one often demonstrates a company’s desire to sharpen its focus on data. As companies turn more and more to data, the influence of CDOs is set to increase, particularly as companies become more clued in to customer desires and needs.