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Given today’s dynamic risk landscape, concerns over global economic growth indicators, and the ongoing pressure to disrupt, CEOs are focused on building a new organizational resiliency. 

Dynamic risk landscape

In 2019, environmental and climate change is the biggest threat to growth over the next three years, climbing from its fourth-placed position in 2018. This is closely followed by emerging technology risk and the threats posed by a return to territorialism.

In Singapore and ASEAN however, climate change as the number five risk still lags behind operational and cyber security risks which are at the top.

The initial rounds of uncertainty from the trade tensions have dampened Singapore CEOs’ confidence in the global economy and their expectations of top-line growth.

In the medium term horizon, however, the trade tensions could result in a significant number of US, China and other multi-national corporations increasing their presence in ASEAN. Singapore could therefore become an even more attractive regional or global headquarters as compared to its traditional Asia Pacific rivals, Hong Kong and Shanghai.

Ong Pang Thye

Conflicting global outlook

The 2019 Global CEO Outlook uncovers increasing concern about the health of the global economy. While CEOs are confident in the underlying fundamentals and growth prospects of their businesses over the next three years, this confidence is not matched by their views on the global economic outlook.

Nearly all CEOs (94 percent) said they are confident in their company’s growth prospects over the next three years. This drops to 62 percent for those who are confident in the global economy, a five percentage point drop in confidence since 2018. In the four major economies, — Australia, the UK, France and China — less than half of CEOs are confident in the global economy. 

Confidence in global economy’s 3-year growth prospects, by country

Source: 2019 Global CEO Outlook, KPMG International.

Tea Wei Li

Tax risk in the spotlight


Most important performance metric for organizations’ tax function – Singapore
Most important performance metric for organizations’ tax function – Singapore

Source: 2019 Global CEO Outlook, KPMG International. 


In Singapore however, aligning the tax function to support corporate strategy came up as the most important measure for 32% of Singapore CEOs, compared to only 13% of CEOs globally.

Tay Hong Beng

New competitive age

Complacency can be fatal in today’s dynamic markets. Business models that have lasted for decades are now under increasing threat as a result of digital disruption. 

Our findings show that chief executives recognize that the rules of the game have changed, and a new resilience is required. A significant majority (71 percent) said that their company’s growth relies on their ability to challenge and disrupt any business norm. 

We also saw a significant increase in CEOs saying that their company is actively disrupting their sector rather than waiting to be disrupted. In 2018, 54 percent said they were on the disruptive front foot, but in 2019, it has increased to 63 percent.


Throughout this document, “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.

The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the interviewees and survey respondents and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of KPMG International or any KPMG member firm.  KPMG’s involvement is not an endorsement, sponsorship or implied backing of any company’s products or services.