Volvo lures McDonald’s CDO to drive digital transformation – CIO

Volvo Cars, seeking to rev up digital projects such as autonomous driving and concierge services, has hired Atif Rafiq as its senior vice president IT and chief digital officer (CDO). Rafiq is joining the Swedish car maker from McDonald’s, where he became the burger chain’s first CDO in 2013. He replaces Klas Bendrik, senior vice president of IT, who will assist with the transition and leave the company.

Volvo said in a statement that Rafiq will oversee the company’s digital transformation, which includes adding consumer-facing applications and digital touchpoints, as well as enterprise systems supporting the company’s products, processes and services. The main challenge? Developing cars that are autonomous, electric and connected, says Håkan Samuelsson, president and chief executive, in a statement.

“The automotive industry is changing rapidly,” Samuelsson says. “This means that Volvo must also change rapidly. Part of this involves rethinking how customers buy Volvo’s cars and then how they interact with them once they have bought them. Atif is ideally qualified to speed up our development in this area.”

Downshifting to digital

Volvo has embarked on several technology initiatives that seem progressive compared to other big-brand car manufacturers. The company is piloting a service that uses Bluetooth-enabled digital keys to let customers lock and unlock their vehicles from a mobile app.

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