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The KPMG 2020 CEO Outlook: Covid-19 special edition offers a unique lens on evolving attitudes as the pandemic has unfolded. KPMG initially surveyed 1,300 CEOs around the world in January and February, before many key markets were beginning to feel the full impact of lockdowns. Then, in July and August, we conducted a follow-up survey of 315 CEOs to understand how their thinking had evolved. (Forty-five additional CEOs in the UAE participated in the survey and their findings are used to highlight significant or qualitative differences with global sentiment.)

Key developments include:

Talent and a new working reality: Many CEOs see a future where employees continue to work from home, which they see as widening their potential talent pool and which may see their organizations downsize office space

Shifting risk agenda: Since the start of the pandemic, ‘Talent risk’ has risen to be named as one of the most significant threat to the growth of their businesses ahead of ‘Supply chain risk’ and a ‘Return to territorialism’

Digital acceleration: Business leaders are betting on major dimensions of digital transformation and the majority have seen this accelerate during the lockdown

Overall, three key themes emerged from this year’s survey, which we characterize as Purpose, Prosperity and Priorities.

  

Unless otherwise indicated, throughout this report, “we”, “KPMG”, “us” and “our” refer to the network of independent member firms operating under the KPMG name and affiliated with KPMG International or to one or more of these firms or to KPMG International.

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