New York-listed casino operator MGM Resorts International has appointed former McDonald's chief digital officer Atif Rafiq as president of commercial and growth.

Rafiq will lead MGM Resorts' business transformation and brings extensive experience in rethinking and transforming global organizations to the role, including reshaping consumer behavior and delivering significant, measurable, new sources of profitability.

Reporting directly to MGM Resorts chairman and CEO Jim Murren, Rafiq will develop new customer experiences, business models and revenue streams, including launching digital businesses to further differentiate MGM Resorts.

As the lead commercial officer, he will oversee current revenue streams including commercial, digital, sales and marketing, bringing them together in a unified strategy allowing for efficient, nimble and innovative growth.

"MGM Resorts is on a clear path toward growing the customer experience and digital transformation, and Atif is the right leader at the right time,” said Murren. “We conducted an exhaustive search knowing we needed to find someone with not only digital transformation experience, but also a business leader with proven ability to translate emerging consumer behavior into strategy and revenue growth.

“Atif brings all of these skills to the table. I have no doubt that he will harness technology and utilize the greatest assets and employees in the business, to maximize revenue and evolve the guest experience."

As the first chief digital officer in the Fortune 100, Rafiq led one of the largest digital transformations in the world at McDonald's Corporation. In less than five years, his initiatives went from idea to global rollout, becoming one of the main revenue growth drivers for the company.

Rafiq joins MGM Resorts from Volvo Cars, where he led strategic initiatives to embrace business model change. He has also worked for global technology companies including Amazon, Yahoo! and AOL.

"MGM Resorts sits at a unique intersection between hospitality and huge consumer appetite for experiences. More and more, consumers gravitate toward experiences that entertain, delight, sustain, build treasured memories and create lasting connections,” said Rafiq.

“MGM has the assets, scale advantage and strong brand to grow and deepen its customer relationships taking aim at such opportunities. The building blocks of digitization – user experience, design and technology – have been harnessed by companies like Airbnb, WeWork and Uber to revolutionize their spaces. We need to obsess over changing consumer behaviors within our sights, and use these same building blocks to grow in new ways. I look forward to partnering with the executive team to bring this ambition to life."

MGM Resorts is in the midst of a significant transformation under its MGM 2020 strategy, the company's plan for transformation and revenue growth, with an emphasis on data-driven, digital and customer-centric innovations.

"Our company continues to focus on hiring and developing leaders for the future," added Murren. "Atif joining the leadership team further deepens our bench of talent."

Shares in MGM Resorts International (NYQ:MGM) closed up 0.86 per cent at $27.00 per share in New York Wednesday.


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