Global CEOs grappling with multiple challenges, including geopolitical pressures, but majority remain confident on three-year outlook

Highlights from the KPMG 2023 CEO Outlook

Highlights from the KPMG 2023 CEO Outlook


  • Geopolitics and political uncertainty now ranked as the greatest risk to growth despite not being considered a top five risk last year
  • CEOs increasingly weighing up the return-to-work dilemma, with 87 percent considering linking rewards, raises or promotions with office attendance
  • 68 percent of CEOs indicate that their current ESG progress isn’t strong enough to withstand the potential scrutiny of stakeholders or shareholders
  • CEOs cite ethical challenges as the number one concern when it comes to implementing generative AI (57 percent)

Bangkok, 16 October 2023 – Geopolitics and broader political uncertainty are now the greatest risk to business growth, according to a survey of more than 1,300 CEOs of the world’s largest businesses.

The KPMG 2023 CEO Outlook reveals geopolitics and political uncertainty have become the leading perceived risk this year for senior executives — concerns that didn’t even make the top five in the 2022 survey.

While confidence in the global economic outlook over the next three years remains broadly unchanged since last year’s survey (73 percent compared to 71 percent last year), there has been a significant shift across CEOs’ views on what constitutes a risk to their business.

Over three quarters of CEOs (77 percent) say rising interest rates and tightening monetary policies could risk or prolong the threat of a global recession. Meanwhile, over three in four CEOs (77 percent) believe that cost of living pressures are likely to negatively impact their organization's prosperity over the next three years.

The persistent flux in global politics, trade dynamics and international relations has compelled CEOs to reassess their strategic priorities and demonstrate resilience in navigating the intricate interplay of global political forces.

Business uncertainties offer opportunities for organizations to adapt and strengthen strategies. In response to the geopolitical climate, businesses need adaptability, supply chain reconfiguration, and diversification. In terms of future working trends, hybrid working will likely continue with a collaborative culture. For ESG, companies should position it as a driver for value creation and stay updated on shifting regulations. Regarding AI ethical concerns, organizations must follow global regulations for generative AI, prioritizing privacy, data security, and legal compliance for responsible use and maximum value creation while maintaining ethics.

According to the KPMG 2023 CEO Outlook, based on a survey of 1,325 CEOs, 73 percent of global CEOs express confidence in the economy for the next three years. As a result, it is crucial for organizations to consistently upskill their workforce, as they are the most valuable assets, to ensure preparedness to navigate potential growth risks.

Charoen Phosamritlert
Chief Executive Officer
KPMG in Thailand, Myanmar and Laos

To view additional information about the survey please visit You can also follow @KPMG on LinkedIn and X (Twitter) for updates on the conversation with #CEOoutlook.

Notes to Editors:

About the KPMG CEO Outlook

The 9th edition of the KPMG CEO Outlook, conducted with 1,325 CEOs between 15 August and 15 September 2023, provides unique insight into the mindset, strategies and planning tactics of CEOs.

All respondents have annual revenues over US$500M and a third of the companies surveyed have more than US$10B in annual revenue. The survey included CEOs from 11 key markets (Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Spain, UK and US) and 11 key industry sectors (asset management, automotive, banking, consumer and retail, energy, infrastructure, insurance, life sciences, manufacturing, technology, and telecommunications).

NOTE: some figures may not add up to 100 percent due to rounding.

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About KPMG in Thailand

KPMG in Thailand, with more than 2,000 professionals offering Audit and Assurance, Legal, Tax, and Advisory services, is a member firm of the KPMG global organization of independent member firms affiliated with KPMG International Limited, a private English company limited by guarantee.

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