Atif Rafiq, President of Commercial and Growth, MGM Resorts International (former CDO, Volvo Cars) Named U.S. Chief Digital Officer of the Year 2019 by CDO Club

Atif Rafiq, newly appointed President of Commercial and Growth at MGM Resorts International and former Chief Digital Officer at Volvo Cars, today was recognized as the U.S. Chief Digital Officer of the Year 2019 by the CDO Club, the world’s largest community of C-suite digital and data leaders.

Mr. Rafiq received the award after his keynote on “Five Lessons Learned on the Path to Digital Disruption” from David Mathison, CEO of the CDO Club and CDO Summit, at the 7th annual NYC CDO Summit on Wednesday, May 8 in the Roone Arledge auditorium at Columbia University.

“There’s a great rewiring of every large company underway at the moment. In the role of CDO, you’re often in the middle of it – culture change, organizing a company around customers, recruitment of new tech-savvy talent, and business model evolution. I’ve been privileged to play the CDO role for companies with great brands, huge scale and global presence. And this recognition from CDO Club is the cherry on top.”

“A true ‘digital native’ and prototypical CDO, Atif has been at the center of digital disruption for over 20 years where he worked in leadership roles at some of the world’s most prestigious organizations, including Goldman Sachs, AOL, Audible [acquired by Amazon], Covigna, Yahoo!, and Amazon. In 2013 he became SVP and Global CDO at McDonald’s, and in 2017 he took on an expanded role as CDO and Global CIO at Volvo Cars. In May 2019, he will start at President, Commercial & Growth for MGM Resorts, a move that earned him inclusion into the CDO Club Hall of Fame, which recognizes those CDOs who have become CEO or President. I am delighted to recognize Atif as the U.S. Chief Digital Officer of the Year for 2019,” noted David Mathison, CEO of the CDO Club.

A recent Wall Street Journal article noted that Atif’s move to MGM as President “reflects a shift of the role of CDO from change catalyst to revenue producer, which can also lead to higher offices” and MGM Chief Executive Jim Murren praised Atif’s “proven ability to translate emerging consumer behavior into strategy and revenue growth.”

Mr. Rafiq has both disrupted as a new technology entrant, and helped reposition large incumbent companies. Atif was one of the first chief digital officers in the Fortune 100, and has helped shape the profile of this role as global corporations have embraced it. He provides strong vision for new consumer experiences and products with relentless customer focus, and high business discipline around execution. He is a talent magnet who excels at creating high performance teams aimed at missionary work and has mentored several executives to the C-level.

Atif earned his MBA in Finance and Marketing from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business in 2000, and his BA in Mathematics-Economics from Wesleyan University in 1994.

Previous U.S. Chief Digital Officer of the Year award winners include Fred Santarpia, Chief Digital Officer at Condé Nast (2018); Thomas Hjelm, Chief Digital Officer at NPR (2017); Linda Boff, Chief Marketing Officer at GE (2016); Adam Brotman, former Chief Digital Officer at Starbucks Coffee Company (2015); Rachael S. Haot, former Chief Digital Officer of New York City and New York State (2014); and Teddy Goff, former Digital Director at Obama for America (2013).

U.K. CDO of the Year award winners include Bertrand Bodson, Chief Digital and Marketing Officer at Sainsbury’s Argos (2016); Tanya Cordrey, former Chief Digital Officer at Guardian News and Media (2015); and Mike Bracken, former Chief Digital Officer at U.K.’s Government Digital Service (2014).

The EU CDO of the Year award winner was Patrick Hoffstetter, former Chief Digital Officer at Renault (2016). Australian CDO of the Year award winners include Clive Dickens, former Chief Digital Officer at Seven West Media (2017); and Rebekah Horne, former Chief Digital Officer at Network Ten (2016).


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