Majority of Irish CEOs believe next three years will be more critical than the previous fifty

Irish CEOs believe next three years will be critical

'Now or Never’, KPMG’s Irish CEO Outlook for 2016 investigates the strategic dilemmas Irish CEOs are grappling with, and how they plan to respond.

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  • Over half more confident about future for own business than wider economy.
  • More than one third of Irish CEOs expect their company to transform in the medium term.
  • Over half expect to increase employment between now and 2019.
  • Post Brexit, majority of UK CEOs are assessing the possibility of relocating headquarters or operations outside the UK.

A study of Irish CEOs by KPMG has found that 64 per cent of business leaders believe the next three years will be more critical for their industry than the previous fifty, while more than one third expect their company to transform into an entirely different entity between now and 2019.

The findings are published in 'Now or Never', KPMG's Irish CEO Outlook for 2016 which shows that the pace, scale and scope of change faced by Irish CEOs is ever increasing. In addition to strategic and leadership skills, the ability to anticipate change and to shape an organisation has never been more important. The report comprises CEO perspectives from Ireland and around the world based on interviews of over 1800 leaders from 28 countries.

Commenting on the findings, Shaun Murphy, Managing Partner of KPMG in Ireland said: 'Our research set out to uncover insights from Irish CEOs about the forces and opportunities shaping the businesses they lead. The research shows that Irish CEOs, in keeping with their global peers, believe the companies they lead are likely to be significantly transformed in the medium term.

'As a result of this constant and increasing rate of change, Irish CEOs are reviewing strategies, focussing on skill sets and revaluating opportunities for alliances. They are doing so in an environment in which they are also relatively more optimistic about the outlook for both their business and their sector then they are about the Irish and world economies.'

Other findings

  • Most Irish CEOs are more confident about the future for their own business than they are about the wider economy and over half of them also expect to grow their headcount in the next three years.
  • 44 per cent of CEOs are confident about Ireland's growth prospects over the next 12 months with 48 per cent confident about the global economy.
  • Four in ten CEOs expressed concern about having to take a leadership position on mission-critical issues that they have not grown up with or experienced previously in their careers and almost half worry about the amount of time they have to personally focus on the forces of disruption and innovation shaping their company's future.
  • 80 per cent of CEOs will drive shareholder value utilising external partnerships and collaboration with other businesses.
  • Regulatory hurdles combined with rapid disruption and a low growth environment mean that alliances and joint ventures are becoming increasingly important.
  • Cutting edge technologies, innovation, collaborative alliances and access to talent will be critical tools as forward thinking CEOs implement their transformation plans between now and 2019.


The survey was conducted following the UK's referendum on EU membership and shows that Irish CEOs are divided in their view of the impact that Brexit will have on business confidence in the global economy:

  • 48 per cent say that Brexit will have no impact;
  • 20 per cent think the impact will be somewhat positive;
  • 32 per cent predict a negative impact;
  • 52 per cent anticipate that Brexit will have no impact on their company's revenue growth while 32 per cent expect a somewhat negative impact.

CEO research conducted by KPMG in the UK highlights that a majority of UK CEOs are assessing the possibility of relocating their headquarters or operations outside the UK.

According to Shaun Murphy: 'Most CEOs I speak with, whilst concerned, are fairly pragmatic about Brexit simply because no one really knows what the ultimate outcome will be. The preferred result for Ireland is obviously maximum access and minimum disruption in terms of trade and freedom of movement.'


For more information, contact:

Paul Gray
Communications Manager, KPMG Ireland; (01)700 4728

Notes for Editors

About KPMG in Ireland

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