CEOs meet the challenges of an uncertain world

14:00 | 08/08/2018
For our fourth annual Global CEO Outlook survey, we reached out to 1,300 CEOs of large companies across sectors from around the world, including over 30 CEOs from Vietnam, to get their views of a broad range of business drivers, risks, and pain points they and their businesses face. As in prior years, we’ve seen how quickly the world is changing for today’s business leaders and what this means for how they are leading and growing their organisations.
ceos meet the challenges of an uncertain world

Similar to the observations in 2017, we found Vietnam’s CEOs excited about the future. They saw technology-driven change as a significant opportunity to disrupt their respective sectors. That optimism continues in 2018, with CEOs showing great faith in the economic environment and industry growth prospects.

However, that optimism is tempered by caution and realism, with a clear recognition that, in order to grow their businesses, they need to respond to an ever-expanding spectrum of complex challenges and ‘growing pains’. While the CEOs surveyed still predict that their businesses will grow in the coming year, forecasts are lower than last year and a majority say they need to hit growth targets before they start hiring new people.

It’s not surprising in the current environment to see geopolitical issues rising on the CEO radar. Technology continues to command considerable attention – as an enabler, a disruptor, and, with the threat of cyber attacks, a very significant risk.

There’s also a growing sense of inevitability of a cyber breach, with nearly half of CEOs saying that becoming the victim of an attack is a case of ‘when’ and not ‘if’. In addition, even though a number of CEOs still rely on the value of their experience and intuition when making difficult strategic calls, they are embracing the digital agenda like never before and taking personal ownership of implementing data-driven models and analytics to make decisions for the future of their organisations.

ceos meet the challenges of an uncertain world
With geopolitical uncertainty and technological disruption, CEOs face many challenges

Being a CEO in a period of such profound disruption and opportunity poses immense personal and professional challenges. Given the current geopolitical environment, it’s perhaps not surprising that a number of CEOs in Vietnam are more open to new thinking, learning new skills, and challenging convention than ever before.

By Warrick Cleine - Chairman and CEO, KPMG in Vietnam and Cambodia

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