2019 CEO Outlook – UAE - KPMG | AE
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UAE CEOs are optimistic about the future

Last year, the CEO Outlook found UAE chief executives to be optimistic about the future and their own organization’s growth prospects, though cognizant of threats like potential geopolitical volatility and cyber security.

In 2019, we found these concerns remain pertinent. CEOs are increasingly focused on building the organizational resilience needed to manage and master disruption while maintaining growth momentum.

Click here to view the 2019 CEO Outlook - UAE report.

There is something to be learnt from every failure. Instead of dismissing it as a waste of time and resources, organizations should analyze each trial to understand the macro- and microeconomic factors that contributed to the outcome…Investing in studying the environment in which the organization operates is imperative

Nader Haffar, Chairman and CEO, KPMG Lower Gulf

threats-to-growth

Redefining resilience

One of the most compelling findings in this year’s CEO Outlook is that two-thirds of chief executive officers believe agility to be the new currency of business. If they fail to adapt to a constantly changing world, their business will become irrelevant.

UAE CEOs are championing a digital reinvention by building on three key areas – cyber resilience, a strong workforce and new technology. 

Uncharted waters

To manage highly complex, big-picture challenges, CEOs need to build a nuanced picture of how risks are inter-connected. They need to establish robust early warning systems and formulate hypothetical responses to a range of different scenarios so that they are on the front-foot should a possible slowdown occur.

Leading in uncertain times

While encouraging innovation through acceptance of productive failure, CEOs must also foster a disciplined approach that does not sacrifice quality. They must lead a fundamental transformation of their operating models, building a customer-focused and connected enterprise, by combining advanced technologies with operating redesign.

Changing from within

CEOs need to nurture a deep and nuanced understanding of the cyber security risks facing the organization, and put in place the communications and education programs necessary to ensure security best practice is part of the firm’s DNA. To drive this ambitious remodeling of both systems and personnel, CEOs must give their learning and development teams the strategic backing and resources they need, while also instituting effective governance structures. Finally, they need to lead their organization’s Artificial Intelligence strategies taking into consideration how, where and when these new technologies can be deployed.

Redefining resilience

One of the most compelling findings in this year’s global CEO Outlook is that over two-thirds of chief executive officers believe that agility is the new currency of business. If they fail to adapt to a constantly changing world, their business will become irrelevant— a stark choice.

This year’s KPMG CEO Outlook report shows that UAE CEOs are championing a digital reinvention by building on three key areas – cyber resilience, a strong workforce and new technology. To weather the economic challenges that lie ahead, they will have to fundamentally transform their operating models and build an agile, customer-focused and connected enterprise, by combining advanced technologies with operating redesign.

The evolution of the CEO

CEOs need to become internal disruptors of their own business, challenging management dogma and entrenched practices. They need to forge stronger links with their customers, anticipating their requirements through insights gleaned from data-driven analysis. They must also create an environment where new ideas can be tested without prejudice and in which willingness to change is recognized as a strength.

There will always be a need for human interaction in the banking industry and finding the appropriate balance between traditional and digital services is key to providing an exceptional customer experience.

Rola Abu Manneh
CEO, Standard Chartered Bank (UAE)