"Consumers visit and interact with our brand in multiple ways --
and digital continues to grow increasingly important to them," said
Mr. Easterbrook in a statement. "Atif will lead a more coordinated
and comprehensive digital strategy for our global organization as
we deepen our connection with our customers. His cutting-edge
thinking, background and expertise will help us drive even greater
innovation in this arena."
It's unclear what exact global digital initiatives Mr. Rafiq
will oversee, or what it means for digital marketing and media in
the U.S. But the move comes as McDonald's and its competitors in
the U.S. are looking for ways to connect to consumers, particularly
in the mobile space -- a medium the restaurant industry has been
slow to embrace. Overseas, McDonald's and other chains
have been working with mobile for some time.
McDonald's is currently testing mobile payments in the U.S.,
including mobile ordering, with customers able to pick up food in
stores, curbside or at the drive-thru. It's also been digitizing
its menu boards in recent years.
Mr. Rafiq was most recently general manager of Kindle Direct
Publishing at Amazon.com, overseeing global product management,
marketing, design and development. Before that, he was at Yahoo,
first as general manager of the Y! Local division, and then in a
global product strategy role for the Y! News division. He's also
worked at AOL and Goldman Sachs.