Global CEO confidence returns to pre-pandemic levels

Oct 07 | 2021

According to KPMG, CEOs of the world’s largest businesses are increasingly optimistic about the outlook for their own business and despite the Delta variant slowing down the ‘return to normal’, their confidence in the global economy has returned to levels not seen since the start of the pandemic.

Bill Thomas, KPMG

The KPMG 2021 CEO Outlook, which asked more than 1,300 global CEOs about their strategies and outlook over a three-year horizon, finds that 60% of leaders are confident about the global economy's growth prospects over the next three years (up from 42% in the January/February pulse survey).

The prospect of a stronger global economy is leading CEOs to invest in expansion and business transformation, with 69% of senior executives identifying inorganic methods (e.g. joint ventures, M&A and strategic alliances) as their organisation’s main strategy for growth. A majority (87%) of global leaders stated that they are looking to make acquisitions in the next three years to help grow and transform their businesses.

The survey found that 30% of CEOs plan to invest more than 10% of their revenues toward sustainability measures and programmes over the next three years.

KPMG 2021 CEO Outlook“Despite the continued uncertainty around the pandemic, CEOs are increasingly confident that the global economy is coming back strong,” said Bill Thomas, KPMG Global Chairman and CEO. “This confidence has put leadership in an aggressive growth stance. While inorganic growth strategies are a priority, CEOs are also looking to expand organically and continue to assess the future of work to ensure they can attract top talent.”

He added: “If there is a positive to come out of the past 18 months, it is that CEOs are increasingly putting ESG [Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance] at the heart of their recovery and long-term growth strategies. The unfolding climate and societal crises have made it clear that we need to change our ways and work together. I'm encouraged about what the future holds because business leaders are acknowledging that they need to be the drivers of positive change, supporting measures to tackle environmental dangers, as well as societal challenges - from gender and race to equality and social mobility.”

Photo:  Bill Thomas