Asean CEOs cautiously optimistic about growth in the face of unprecedented headwinds

Asean CEOs cautiously optimistic about growth

Digital News Asia


THE outlook appears to be bright as 88% of Asean CEOs are confident about their company’s growth prospect in the next three years, a sentiment shared by CEOs globally (90%).

However, according to the 2018 Global CEO Outlook report by KPMG International, this optimism is married with a healthy dose of realism as 77% of Asean leaders are predicting a cautious revenue growth of 2% or less over the next three years for their organization. More than half of CEOs in Asean (64%) also noted the need to hit growth targets before hiring new skills. Consequently, they expect headcount to increase by less than 5% over the next three years.

This evidence of pragmatism doesn’t surprise Datuk Johan Idris, managing partner of KPMG in Malaysia, who commented: “Across the board, CEOs are driving growth against a backdrop of significant demographic shifts, geopolitical volatility and the seemingly inevitable future cyber-attacks. Additionally, the ever-present risk of a cyber-security threat is rising on the radar; up from fifth to second place overall this year in terms of risks hampering future growth.

Digital innovation can create significant value across business models, customer experience and operations. But greater connectivity brings increasing cyber vulnerability, and about half of all CEOs around the world (49%) say that a cyber-attack is now a case of ‘when’, instead of ‘if’. And yet, many CEOs are concerned about the robustness of their defenses; only half of CEOs in Asean believe that their organization is well prepared for a cyber-attack.

“Smart leaders are those who are making cyber-preparedness a board priority, stress-testing the resilience of their systems and people to withstand an attack. Ultimately, having a robust cyber-defense in place is critical to secure key stakeholders’ trust,” observed Dani Michaux, KPMG’s Head of ASPAC Cyber Security.


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