Optimism is back in the boardroom
It’s been about 18 months since the World Health Organization declared a global pandemic, and the latest edition of our CEO Outlook survey gauges how leadership strategies and concerns have shifted during these demanding times. CEOs are confident in the growth prospects of their company and the global economy in general. They feel a strong connection to their organization’s purpose and are looking to expand their business to emerge stronger.
Drawing on the perspectives of 1,325 chief executives across 11 major markets, this year’s survey offers a lens on how today’s connected CEOs are plugged-in, people-first and purpose-led. Overall, three themes emerged: the road to renewal and leaders’ optimism about the path to growth, the importance of following through on a trusted purpose by driving bold environmental, social and governance (ESG) programs, and the determination of CEOs to instill new levels of digital agility.
Despite the continued uncertainty around the pandemic, CEOs are increasingly confident that the global economy is coming back strong. This confidence has put leadership in an aggressive growth stance. While inorganic growth strategies are a priority, CEOs are also looking to expand organically and continue to assess the future of work to ensure they can attract top talent.
If there is a positive to come out of the past 18 months, it is that CEOs are increasingly putting ESG at the heart of their recovery and long-term growth strategies. The unfolding climate and societal crises have made it clear that we need to change our ways and work together. I’m encouraged about what the future holds because business leaders are acknowledging that they need to be the drivers of positive change, supporting measures to tackle environmental dangers, as well as societal challenges — from gender and race, to equity and social mobility.
Global Chairman & CEO
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.