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KPMG Survey: CEOs on Geopolitics, ESG, AI, Return-to-Work

A recent KPMG survey of 1,300 CEOs found that top executives are confronting various internal and external challenges as they attempt to strategize and lead their companies through tumultuous times. CEOs ranked geopolitics and political uncertainty as the top risk to growth over the next three years, followed by operational issues and emerging/disruptive technology. 

AI seen as a competitive advantage. Over 70% of global CEOs are investing in generative AI, citing increased profitability as the number one benefit to implementing generative AI within a company.

ESG issues are crucial to long-term corporate strategies. 69% of CEOs state they have fully embedded ESG into their business to create value and that they are taking a more outcomes-based approach to ESG. While CEOs reported they are still years away from seeing a return on investment, 24% believe ESG will have the greatest impact on their relationship with customers.

CEOs continue signaling a desire to return to pre-pandemic ways of work. 64% of global CEOs predict a full return to in-office work within the next three years. Further demonstrating a shift to in-office working, almost 90% of respondents expressed an interest in linking financial reward and promotion opportunities to those working in-office. Some argue that these types of incentives will hinder DEI efforts.

The Bottom Line: CEOs are focused on mitigating the risks of disruptive geopolitical events and reassessing their strategic priorities around AI, ESG and talent. While CEOs reported strong confidence in a full return to office, the fact remains that hybrid work has employee support and leaders should approach return-to-office plans with employee needs in mind. 

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Authors: Margaret Faso

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