Canadian CEO Outlook 2017 | KPMG | CA
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Canadian CEO Outlook 2017

Canadian CEO Outlook 2017

Amid economic turbulence, geopolitical instability and massive business disruption, the pressure on CEOs is mounting. Are Canadian CEOs keeping pace?


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Canadian CEOs are preparing for the future by setting strategic priorities, addressing emerging business risks and laying the groundwork for future growth

KPMG conducted a survey of nearly 1,300 CEOs from around the world to uncover their growth outlooks, strategic priorities, business concerns and investment objectives for the next three years. In this year's report, we compare the responses of 51 Canada's CEOs to those of their global peers to assess how well our nation's senior executives are preparing for the future.

In pursuit of growth

Despite concerns that inflation, interest rates and tax rates will rise in the next three years, Canadian CEOs are confident that their companies will experience top-line growth over the next 12 months. To execute on their priorities, they plan to scale up their business operations and processes, digitize their businesses and improve speed to market.

The drivers of this change are clear. Economic turbulence, geopolitical instability and massive business disruption are moving at a pace faster than ever before. The 2017 survey reports that Canadian CEOs recognize the importance of disruption as a path to business growth. Rather than waiting to be disrupted by competitors, Canadian CEOs say they are taking active steps to disrupt within their own sectors. In fact, the majority of Canada’s CEOs agree that technological disruption is more of an opportunity than a threat.

However, given today’s complex and rapidly changing environment, Canada’s C-suite will need to do things differently when thinking about transformation.

It is time to invest and grow

This edition of the Canadian CEO Outlook reveals the dilemma CEOs face each and every day – the need to invest in innovation and identify the action steps necessary to keep pace in an age of disruption, while at the same time balancing geopolitical, economic and business transformations.

Canadian CEOs embrace disruption as opportunity vs. threat; majority actively disrupting their sectors
Three-quarters of Canada’s CEOs (75 percent) see disruption as an opportunity for their business, not a threat, and 86 percent say they are not waiting to be disrupted by competitors; instead, their business is actively disrupting its sector. Despite this, the majority (98 percent) of Canadian CEOs (compared to 74 percent of global CEOs) believe that in three years they will largely be the same company they are today.

Canadian CEO strategic top priorities have shifted significantly from 2016; innovation missing from the top of the list
Business digitization and limiting brand risk in an age of transparency tied for first place in 2017. Greater speed to market came in as the second top priority, while three others tied for third place – stronger client focus, talent development and becoming more data driven. Innovation, often seen as a strong path to growth, and part of the government of Canada’s strategic economic agenda, is not among the top priorities.

Canadian CEO confidence in global market has declined; Central/South America a priority focus
CEO confidence in the global economic outlook has dipped to 43 percent. Conversely, most Canadian CEOs (75 percent) are confident about Canada’s economic growth, while 82 percent believe their own company will grow in the next three years. When it comes to growth opportunities, 63 percent of Canadian CEOs are focusing on Central and South America, 31 percent are focusing on Canada and 24 percent see growth opportunities in the US.

Canadian CEOs focused on impact of geopolitical risk; protectionist policies on the rise globally
The majority (86 percent) of Canadian CEOs are bolstering their management teams to better understand geopolitical risk and 84 percent are spending more time on scenario planning given today’s uncertain geopolitical climate.

Explore the report

Disrupt and grow: 2017 Canadian CEO Outlook shares these - and a wide range of other - findings in a bid to uncover strategies Canada's companies can take to achieve growth in an environment of uncertainty. The report also looks at critical topics including cyber security, talent attraction, geopolitical risk and technology investments.

Download Disrupt and grow: 2017 Canadian CEO Outlook [PDF 1 MB] to see how your company compares to its national and global peers, and discover strategies you can adopt to take advantage of opportunities in an era of disruption.

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