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Atif Rafiq (Photo: Volvo Cars)

Volvo Cars has appointed Atif Rafiq senior vice president IT and chief digital officer effective January 2. The Swedish carmaker said Klas Bendrik, the current CIO, will leave the company.

Rafiq, 43, has been the chief digital officer at fast-food chain McDonalds Corporation since 2013. There, he led a global effort to use more technology to fundamentally change customer-facing operations. Earlier, he held general management positions at technology companies including Amazon, Yahoo and AOL.

Rafiq also has broad experience starting up new companies, which is expertise the auto industry values as it is entering new mobility fields.

Volvo CEO Hakan Samuelsson said carmakers, including Volvo must rethink how people buy cars and what kind of relationship they will have with their cars after the purchase. "Atif is ideally qualified to speed up our development in this area,” he said.

Bendrik will leave the company after a transition period, Volvo said. Samuelsson cited among his achievements that he had "led the charge in ensuring digitization has become a central part of our strategic agenda."