CEOs named the biggest risk to their organization’s growth

Two-thirds of CEOs say that agility is the new currency of business and that if they don’t adapt, their business will become irrelevant

CEOs named the biggest risk to their organization’s growth. Source: shutterstock.com

According to the fifth KPMG International Global CEO Outlook, just over half of CEOs are confident they will succeed but are realistic, with 53% projecting cautious three-year growth of up to 2% (down from 55% in 2018). As with 2018, they are also maintaining a positive three-year growth outlook for the global economy, although this has slightly fallen from 67 to 62% over the last 12 months. This confidence is also shown by their commitment to hire, with 36% of CEOs projecting to add more than six percent to their workforce in the next three years.

A successful CEO now needs to be an agile CEO. Succeeding in a world of volatility and uncertainty requires different leadership skills, particularly in large, multi-national organizations. It's no longer a question of simply defending your position and using scale to maintain competitive advantage. Today, CEOs need to be comfortable disrupting their business models by forging new strategic partnerships, considering alternate M&A strategies and increasing the skills of their workforces
Bill Thomas, Global Chairman, KPMG International

CEOs named climate change the biggest risk to their organization’s growth, the first time in five years it was rated a top concern compared to technological, territorial, cyber and operational risks. But with only a small margin between each of them, it paints a picture of a complex and ever-shifting risk landscape.

Cyber continues to be high on the CEO agenda, despite falling from the second highest risk last year to fourth this year. In 2019, a larger group of CEOs (69% vs 55% in 2018) say a robust cybersecurity strategy is critical to driving trust with key stakeholders and most (71%) view information security as a key factor in their broader innovation strategy.

When asked to prioritize between buying new technology or developing their workforce to improve their organization’s resilience, CEOs favored technology two to one (68 vs 32%).

Artificial intelligence (AI) is on the minds of CEOs, yet only 16% have implemented AI and automation programs. A further 31% are still at the pilot stage, while 53% admit to undertaking a limited AI implementation. Yet 65% of CEOs believe the inclusion of AI and automation will create more jobs than it eliminates.

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