In the ever-changing landscape of global economies, adaptability and strategic foresight have become paramount for businesses to thrive. The recently released KPMG CEO Outlook 2023 sheds light on the current economic climate, revealing intriguing insights into the minds of the world's top executives. Despite lingering uncertainties, there's a prevailing sense of confidence in the global economy, with 73 percent of CEOs expressing positivity about the economic outlook over the next three years.

What's particularly striking is the nuanced shift in CEOs' concerns. While confidence in the overall economy remains high, CEOs are slightly less optimistic about their own companies' growth prospects. This dip, from 85 percent at the beginning of 2020 to 77 percent in 2023, suggests a need for more focused and strategic approaches to corporate growth.

Shifting Sands: Geopolitics and Political Uncertainty as Key Business Concerns

The shift in CEOs' concerns towards geopolitics and political uncertainty signifies a significant transformation in the landscape of business risks. Traditionally, technological disruptions and supply chain issues were pivotal concerns for corporate leaders. However, in our contemporary global scenario, marked by geopolitical fragmentation and political turbulence, the focus has shifted. This change is not arbitrary but deeply rooted in the evolving nature of risks that businesses face.

Geopolitics and political have now taken the forefront. Unlike isolated challenges, these issues have a profound and lasting impact on businesses. CEOs are grappling with the complexities of navigating conflict zones, where political tensions can directly affect a company's operations. Furthermore, managing disrupted supply chains due to political events and handling price fluctuations caused by political decisions have become critical challenges, disrupting the stability of businesses in unforeseen ways.

In response to these challenges, CEOs are compelled to embrace a new paradigm of strategic planning. It's no longer sufficient to rely solely on traditional business strategies. Specialized insights, informed by a deep understanding of political landscapes, are now essential. Scenario planning has become a crucial tool.

What's particularly striking is how CEOs have transitioned into de facto political players. Their decisions and strategies are no longer limited to boardrooms; they are influenced by and, in turn, influence political events. This shift underscores the indispensable role of politics in the business world. It's not merely an external factor but an internal consideration that needs to find a dedicated place on the boardroom agenda. Acknowledging the intricate relationship between politics and business has become imperative, shaping the way CEOs formulate policies, make strategic decisions, and ensure the resilience of their companies in an unpredictable geopolitical landscape.

KPMG in the Philippines Vice Chairman and COO, and Head of Advisory Emmanuel Bonoan shares, “With our nation often affected by political shifts and geopolitical dynamics, understanding the lasting impact of political instability on businesses is vital – urging CEOs to develop specialized insights and robust scenario planning to navigate these challenges effectively.”

Additionally, short-term challenges loom large on the horizon. CEOs are apprehensive about rising interest rates and tightening monetary policies, recognizing their potential to prolong recessions. Cost-of-living pressures, too, are anticipated to negatively impact organizational prosperity over the next three years.

Demonstrating Integrity: A Cornerstone of Trust in Business Leadership

Trust is no longer merely a desirable trait; it's an indispensable asset for any successful enterprise. CEOs understand that trust is intricately tied to personal integrity. In a world where information travels at the speed of light and reputations can be made or broken in an instant, demonstrating honesty, authenticity, and ethical conduct has become non-negotiable. It's not just about adhering to legal frameworks; it's about embodying moral principles and values in every business decision.

In essence, the commitment to purpose-driven leadership, grounded in personal integrity, and the readiness to engage with societal issues publicly are not just admirable traits in CEOs. They are essential qualities that define the new paradigm of corporate leadership – a paradigm that prioritizes ethical conduct, social responsibility, and the long-term well-being of both businesses and the societies they serve.

“Trust is a precious commodity in business relationships, and CEOs’ willingness to make principled decisions exemplify the ethical leadership needed in the Philippines,” Bonoan added.

How KPMG Can Help

KPMG, with its extensive expertise in risk management, geopolitical analysis, and strategic planning, stands as a beacon of support for CEOs and businesses facing these challenges. Through specialized insights, KPMG can provide tailored solutions to mitigate the risks associated with geopolitical uncertainties, ensuring businesses remain resilient in the face of political instabilities.

By partnering with KPMG, CEOs can harness these resources to fortify their organizations, foster trust, and make informed decisions that not only protect their reputation but also contribute meaningfully to the greater societal good. 

The excerpt was taken from the KPMG Thought Leadership publication:

© 2024 R.G. Manabat & Co., a Philippine partnership and a member firm of the KPMG global organization of independent member firms affiliated with KPMG International Limited, a private English company limited by guarantee. All rights reserved.

For more information, you may reach out to Vice Chairman and COO, and Head of Advisory Noel Bonoan through, social media or visit

This article is for general information purposes only and should not be considered as professional advice to a specific issue or entity. The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily represent KPMG International or KPMG in the Philippines.