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KPMG 2018 U.S. CEO Outlook

KPMG 2018 U.S. CEO Outlook

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High Confidence and Measured Expectations

In 2018, U.S. CEOs are feeling strong confidence in the U.S. economy and their own growth prospects over the next three years. But overall growth expectations are modest, and factors like technology-driven disruption and cyber security are real concerns. That's according to KPMG LLP's "Growing Pains: 2018 U.S. CEO Outlook," an in-depth survey of 400 U.S. CEOs from a range of companies.

Key findings include:

  • Seventy-seven percent are "very confident" in the growth prospects for their companies over the next three years, up from 46 percent a year ago. 
  • Despite the high confidence, moderate growth is predicted. Fifty-one percent expect top-line revenue growth to be less than 2 percent over the next three years with 49 percent expecting growth in the 2 to 5 percent range. 
  • Thirty-six percent have a "high M&A appetite" and are likely to undertake acquisitions which will have a significant impact on their organization, with cost reduction and business model transformation the main drivers.

Growth Plans

CEOs said their key strategies for achieving growth over the next three years include M&A (23 percent), alliances with third parties (23 percent), and organic growth (22 percent).

They also are planning to undertake a number of actions relating to innovation and collaboration to achieve their growth objectives. These include setting up accelerator or incubator programs for startup firms (46 percent), making products and services available via online providers (43 percent), and partnering with third-party providers (42 percent).

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

Top Risks: Threats to Growth

When asked about the risks posing the greatest threat to their organization's growth, CEOs identified cyber security (33 percent) and emerging and disruptive technology (20 percent). They are significantly less likely than their global counterparts to see a return to territorialism as a threat to growth.

Sixty-eight percent said it's now a case of "when," not "if," their organization becomes a victim of a cyber attack and 77 percent believe they are either "very well" or "well" prepared for it.

Digital Workforce

Organizations in the United States are well down the path of implementing artificial intelligence (AI) into process automation. Forty-nine percent have begun limited implementation of AI for specific processes, and 31 percent have already implemented it to automate a number of processes. A narrow majority (52 percent) of CEOs believe that more jobs will be created than eliminated by artificial intelligence and robotics technologies in their organizations over the next three years.

Looking at the importance of workforce capabilities in supporting future growth, CEOs are prioritizing specialists in emerging technology (76 percent), cyber security (75 percent), and scenario and risk modeling (74 percent).

For more information, download the full report below.

The information contained herein is of a general nature and is not intended to address the circumstances of any particular individual or entity. Although we endeavor to provide accurate and timely information, there can be no guarantee that such information is accurate as of the date it is received or that it will continue to be accurate in the future. No one should act on such information without appropriate professional advice after a thorough examination of the particular situation.

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