The purpose of the survey? To understand the sentiment of business leaders from the most important companies worldwide: 1330 CEOs of some of the most important global companies were interviewed, eleven markets and the different sectors were analysed (asset management, automotive, banking, consumer & retail, energy, infrastructure, insurance, life sciences, manufacturing, technology & telecoms).
An unexpected optimism about the prospects for the international economy and their company characterises the CEOs of major multinationals: 67% see disruption as an opportunity for growth despite the currently unstable context and 90% are confident in their company’s growth prospects, with a 7% increase compared to last year.
However, since traditional products and services are becoming increasingly obsolete, managers have personally accepted the digital transformation challenge, which has become a priority more than ever before, trying to adopt and fully exploit the potential of new technologies. The projects for the coming years include the hiring of new figures, such as Data Scientists, cyber security and Artificial Intelligence experts.
What about the risks? In the list of the most significant threats to growth, the rise of nationalism in the geopolitical world is the number one threat. Globalization and interdependence of political events, instability in institutional relations and in macroeconomic power relations, new approaches to the rules on international trade are of increasing concern to CEOs worldwide. The cyber risk is growing: this risk is perceived to be highest by American CEOs (68% against 34% of respondents in Italy), who think it’s just a matter of time, while 51% believe they are well prepared for a cyber attack.
Many CEOs are concerned that their businesses are not keeping up with the new needs of Millennials, a strategic generation for business. It is essential to embody and show empathy toward the key values of young people, but this requires a huge effort on the part of most CEOs: 38% even declare they need to reposition their brand to meet these needs.