For the first time since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, CEOs feel confident enough to predict the end of the crisis. A global return to normality will be achieved midway through 2022, according to more than 1300 chief executives questioned. Despite the Delta variant of the coronavirus, 60% of the CEOs expect there to be economic growth over the next three years. The top three risks to growth are challenges in the supply chains, digital security and climate change. Dutch CEOs are notably more positive about hybrid working than their counterparts abroad. These are the results of the annual CEO Outlook conducted by accountancy and consultancy firm KPMG.

According to 69% of the respondents, growth will come from investments in their own companies, forging partnerships and more organic growth in business. For 87% of chief executives, merger and acquisition plans are on the agenda for the coming three years. Another indicator of their positive attitude are plans relating to the sustainability agenda. 30% of CEOs anticipate investments of more than 10% in measures to build a sustainable economy that is good for people, planet and society over the next three years. So-called Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) challenges are no longer only on the agenda of the Head of Sustainability. This has become a major topic of discussion in the boardroom, so KPMG’s CEO Outlook reveals. 58% of the chief executives confirm the increasing demand from investors, regulators and customers for proper ESG reporting.

Dutch business leaders are ahead of the curve in hybrid working and climate measures

A strikingly large proportion of Dutch CEOs (67%) are advocates of hybrid working (both at the office and at home or elsewhere) compared to foreign CEOs (42%). At the same time, Dutch chief executives are more concerned about the welfare of employees than their counterparts in other countries. The same is also true of climate, which is in the top three challenges of Dutch CEOs, whereas it only ranks fifth for CEOs abroad.

“Many companies are taking serious steps in the field of ESG. They are setting concrete, measurable objectives, as well as setting up the required strategy and operational processes to achieve them. The Covid crisis has significantly increased the focus on our sustainability agenda. The fact that progress no longer depends solely on economic welfare is recognised more than ever in the boardroom”, says Stephanie Hottenhuis, chair of the Board of Management of KPMG in the Netherlands. 

More information

If you would like more information, check out the KPMG 2021 CEO Outlook, which includes a number of interviews with CEOs. One of them is with Dutchman Frank Slootman of cloud platform company Snowflake.

Contact

For more information: Jolanda Peek, 06-52327513 or peek.jolanda@kpmg.nl