Report: U.S. CEO Confidence Grows as They Confront, Embrace Technology

U.S. CEOs are confident in the growth prospects of the domestic and global economies over the next three years, as they look to grow their businesses while facing unparalleled disruption and change from technology, according to a new survey of 1,300 CEOs released by the global accounting firm KPMG, which has offices in Detroit and Grand Rapids.
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businessman using tablet
CEOs in the U.S. are confident in the domestic and global economies over the next three years as technology plays an ever-increasing role. // Stock photo

U.S. CEOs are confident in the growth prospects of the domestic and global economies over the next three years, as they look to grow their businesses while facing unparalleled disruption and change from technology, according to a new survey of 1,300 CEOs released by the global accounting firm KPMG, which has offices in Detroit and Grand Rapids.

Fifty-three percent of CEOs are “very confident” in the growth prospects of the domestic and global economies. At the same time, 23 percent said the greatest threat to their organizations’ growth was disruptive technology. Environmental factors/climate change (17 percent) and cyber security (16 percent) were other growth threats cited.

While almost a quarter of the CEO respondents feared disruptive technology, 68 percent said they would rather buy new technology rather than develop their current workforce (32 percent) to improve their company’s resilience. Seventy percent say they are planning to up-skill 41 to 60 percent of their organization’s workforce with new digital technology over the next three years.

Over the same next three years, 73 percent of the executives said artificial intelligence and robotics technologies will create more jobs than they eliminate, up from 52 percent a year ago.

“U.S. CEOs are highly confident and laser-focused on making their organizations more resilient in the face of various risks that threaten the growth of their companies,” says Lynne Doughtie, chairman and CEO of KPMG U.S. “Amid constant disruption and change, proactive leaders are executing agile, multi-faceted growth strategies that include mergers and acquisitions, alliances with third parties, investment in emerging markets, and accelerating innovation and collaboration within their organizations.”

More than two-thirds (68 percent) of the CEO respondents say acting with agility is the new currency of business and that if they don’t adapt, their business will become irrelevant.

CEOs say their most important strategies for achieving growth over the next three years include alliances with third parties (38 percent), mergers and acquisitions (21 percent), and organic growth (19 percent).

Sixty-three percent said they need to improve their organization’s innovation processes and execution, up from 8 percent a year ago.

Seventy-four percent see emerging markets as the priority for geographical expansion with a focus on Central and South America.

For more information on KPMG U.S.’s “CEO Outlook,” click here.

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