Q&A with Atif Rafiq - Volvo's Chief Digital Officer

Arif - thanks for your time! You’ve worked at several top companies but never more than a few years. What’s your motivation for seeking new opportunities? Lastly, what's the end goal for you?

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First a bit of context ... I’ve been the lucky recipient of a market that is scarce on digital native talent in senior roles, and willing to go after it. In other words, I have not looked for a job often but instead have been sort of plucked out by organizations hungry for a new kind of leadership. That comes from one good move early in my career -leaving Goldman Sachs to work for Steve Case/ AOL and work on the Internet back since 1996 when I was 23. Since then the Internet has eaten virtually everything, and every industry. So my experience has built on itself as each experience has provided a new dimension to integrate to the whole. Being open to and scaling new experiences is hard but can in and of itself be a developed skill. Coming back to your question - differentiated /scarce skills are more rewarded by the external labor markets than internal ones. That could explain why I have found more growth externally and not been shy to take risks by entering new companies. I don’t know where this will “end up”. Personally I am anti-goals. Ambition is a totally separate matter. Ambition fuels hard work, creativity and learning. Goals can fuel disappointment and lack of gratitude for whatever one has. I have no specific career aspirations other than to kill it at whatever I do now and be open to more. Hope this is helpful in some way!

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"Atif"

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Fantastic response. Appreciate the thoughtfulness. Curious to hear about your stance on being “anti-goal” oriented, if you have the time!

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