Erik Jivmark, 36
Chief digital officer, Volvo Car Mobility
What was your first automotive job and why were you interested in the industry?
The starting point was a project for a large, German premium automaker that I took on while working as a management consultant. I was responsible for their sales effectiveness program. That being said, I have always been interested in cars and what they symbolize to people.
Born: Tanum, Sweden
Languages: English, Swedish
Education: Master’s degree in strategic management, Lund University School of Economics and Management, Sweden
Your greatest achievement?
When I took Volvo Cars’ e-Commerce efforts from idea to delivery, selling out 1,927 First Edition XC90s in 29 markets within 48 hours in an online-only campaign. Prior to this, no model had been sold online in that many markets at the same time across the industry. Dealing with everything from multi-channel campaigns and platforms to legal requirements and change management taught me a lot.
What was your biggest failure and what did it teach you?
In my early career, I underestimated the need for communication when leading a program. Just because you said something once or twice doesn’t mean people have understood it. It taught me that you need to share key messages more often than you think, especially during times of change.
What is your current challenge at work?
I was the second person to join Volvo Car Mobility in 2017. In just 18 months we have developed a product into a service -- challenging a very established model -- while building a new company and brand. As the world shifts from car ownership to car access, especially in large metropolitan areas, we need to create a service that can offer “your car sometimes,” which puts requirements on both the digital and physical experience.
What about the auto industry surprises you?
Regardless of whether they are interested in cars, everyone has an opinion about them. Cars, which remain a symbol of freedom, are truly emotional products.
2015-2017: Director digital, Volvo Car USA, Rockleigh, New Jersey
2013-2015: Global head of digital experience, Volvo Cars, Gothenburg, Sweden
2011-2013: Global head of customer relationship management (CRM), Volvo Cars, Gothenburg
2007-2011: Management consultant, Accenture, Copenhagen, Denmark
What is the best advice you have ever received?
If you don’t believe in yourself, no one else will.
What advice would you give to a person considering a career in the auto industry?
In my opinion, this is one of the most interesting industries right now. Megatrends such as the move toward electrification, autonomous driving and shared mobility are bringing change to an industry that has been somewhat protected for decades. This brings exciting opportunities and a lot of possibilities to truly make a difference. So, sharpen your pitch and think of how you would like to make a difference.
What job do you really want to have in the future?
A job that consistently allows me to use my strengths, which include motivating people, challenging the status quo and spearheading change across the wider organization.
What do you do to relax?
Driving my grandfather’s old BMW 325iX E30 along the west coast of Sweden.
What is your pet peeve?
What was your first car?
A Mazda MX-3 with a V-6 engine. It turned out to be the smallest V-6 engine ever produced.
Any car within the M service that is suitable for the task.
If you were a car, which one would you be?
Lightning McQueen from the animated Pixar film “Cars,” which also happens to be my daughter’s favorite car.