Most Singapore CEOs confident of being business disruptors rather than the disrupted: Survey

Findings of the 2017 Global CEO Outlook also stated that this optimism has dipped from 80 per cent last year to 65 per cent this year in the Asean region.
Findings of the 2017 Global CEO Outlook also stated that this optimism has dipped from 80 per cent last year to 65 per cent this year in the Asean region.ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

SINGAPORE - Uncertain global economy has not dented the confidence of chief executive officers in Singapore with three out of four saying they plan to be business disruptors rather than the disrupted over the next three years.

These were the findings of a new survey by KPMG International released on Tuesday, which revealed that nearly 96 per cent of Singapore CEOs interviewed saw disruptive forces as an opportunity rather than a threat to their business, and 73 per cent were still broadly confident about the global economic prospects.

However, findings of the 2017 Global CEO Outlook also stated that this optimism has dipped from 80 per cent last year to 65 per cent this year in the Asean region.

"Disruption has become a fact of life for CEOs and their businesses as they respond to heightened uncertainty," says Mr John Veihmeyer, Global Chairman of KPMG. "But importantly, most see disruption as an opportunity to transform their business model, develop new products and services, and reshape their business so it is more successful than ever before. In the face of new challenges and uncertainties, CEOs are feeling urgency to 'disrupt and grow'."

The report provided insights into global CEOs' expectations for business growth, the challenges they face and their strategies to chart organisational success over the next three years. It found that Asean region CEOs had higher than global average intentions to invest in new technologies and using digital to connect to customers. Intentions to invest in robotic processes over the next three years averaged about 45 per cent higher than among CEOs outside the region.

"Greater digital investments offer CEOs and their companies more opportunities to find competitive advantage in an increasingly uncertain global geopolitical environment," said Mr Ong Pang Thye, managing partner, KPMG in Singapore. "Comparing our results across Asean with the rest of the world, we see a greater confidence among Aseanbusiness leaders that should translate into an economically positive year for the region."

Geopolitical change is of increasing concern among CEOs in companies across 11 industries of the 10 key countries in the report. Among CEOs surveyed, 43 per cent are reassessing their global footprint due to the changing pace of globalisation and protectionism. This is 42 per cent of Singapore CEOs, and 56 per cent across Asean. Thirty-one per cent think protectionist policies at home will rise in the next three years, but Asean CEOs were generally less pessimistic (21 per cent). Just 19 per cent of Singapore CEOs thought similarly.