Optimism and Trust on the CEO’s Mind  

11 May 2018:

At first, this year’s optimism surprised us. When we tallied the results of PwC’s 21st annual survey of chief executive attitudes, we found that company leaders around the world were enthusiastically bullish about the global economy. This seemed to clash with the continuous barrage of pessimistic headlines — reflecting, for example, geopolitical uncertainty, corporate misbehavior, and disruptive new technologies such as artificial intelligence. And yet the 2018 survey marked the greatest increase in general CEO optimism regarding overall worldwide prosperity that we have seen in the past seven years. When PwC global chairman Bob Moritz presented the results at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, in January 2018, the CEOs there largely agreed. In general, business leaders’ expectations of accelerating economic growth are genuine, broad-based, and linked to global economic fundamentals.

To be sure, the respondents to our CEO survey weren’t as confident about other aspects of the future. They said they were still kept up at night by such threats as terrorism, geopolitical uncertainty, cyber-attack, technological disruption, and populism. That’s why we called the survey’s report “The Anxious Optimist in the Corner Office.” But the most striking result had to do with public attitudes about business. When asked if they perceived declining trust from their customers, only 18 percent of CEOs said yes.

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Source: strategy + business

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