Insight

Most U.S. CEOs believe they can lead through radical transformation—do you?

Despite the majority of U.S. CEOs having not grown up as digital natives, the 2018 US CEO Outlook survey revealed that 91% are confident about their ability to lead their companies through radical transformations.

Every year, we release our U.S. CEO Outlook, based on a survey of 400 U.S. CEOs across all major industries and conversations with a dozen leading CEOs about the issues they face. “Growing Pains,” our 2018 U.S. CEO Outlook report, revealed that CEOs are ardently pursuing growth and technology-driven disruption, fueled by confidence in both the U.S. economy and their own growth prospects. In this blog series, our professionals from different industries and groups weigh in on the implications of the survey results.

Despite the majority of U.S. CEOs having not grown up as digital natives, the 2018 US CEO Outlook survey revealed that 91% are confident about their ability to lead their companies through radical transformations.

Amidst this digital transformation, many companies are implementing the tech industry playbook as the model for growth and sometimes survival. The tech industry approach to solving problems is ground-breaking with an acceptance to fail fast and pivot quickly—something CEOs are learning from.

For some CEOs, the confidence expressed in our survey is tempered by an awareness and realization of the considerable change that new technologies are bringing about. With new advanced technologies leaving behind those who are not transforming fast enough, being appropriately nervous may be just the right state of mind.

The power industry is an example of an industry in which CEOs are required to think much differently than in the past. PW Power Systems CEO Raul Pereda told us, “10, 20 or 30 years ago, wind and solar weren’t really of the scale in the industry to make an impact. We don’t necessarily see renewable technologies as competition, but as an opportunity where our aero-derivative gas turbine products can coexist in a power producer’s portfolio in a complementary manner.”

Some CEOs make the difficult choice and disrupt what does not seem to be broken. Western Union’s CEO, Hikmet Ersek, had the confidence to start Western Union Digital at a time when the company’s core business was doing well operating in a traditional way. Now a half-billion-dollar business, Western Union Digital has been growing by over 20% every year.

For more insights and data from leading CEOs and KPMG leaders, download the full “Growing Pains” 2018 U.S. CEO Outlook report here.