‘Confident about company, industry, region growth’: UAE CEOs
All CEOs in the UAE are confident their organisations will grow over the next three years, according to the 2017 KPMG UAE CEO report released in September 2017.
“CEOs in the UAE are optimistic and confident in the ability of their company, industry and region – and their own personal leadership qualities – to develop and grow robustly,” said the report.
They know the challenges
Despite their optimism, UAE CEOs are also well aware of the challenging business issues they face.
“CEOs have to think in new and innovative ways about the disruptive forces impacting their businesses. It is very clear that while CEOs face new challenges and uncertainties, they are increasingly focused on driving growth by exploiting those disruptions,” said Vijay Malhotra, senior partner and chief executive officer at KPMG in the lower Gulf.
Disruptive forces mentioned in the report include technological and cyber risk and geopolitical and competitor uncertainty, in addition to being capable of adapting to change.
“In terms of risk to their business, UAE CEOs were concerned about geopolitical risk (40 per cent), followed by operational risk (36 per cent), and emerging technology risk (32 per cent),” said the report.
It added that last year’s concerns were slightly different and they included regulatory issues, insufficient talent and reputational risks.
Optimism and flexibility
UAE CEOs’ optimism emanates from their will to exploit these risks to their benefits.
“When we look at the general picture, it is evident that CEOs are convinced of their abilities to move their organisations to bigger and better places. We all know that organisations are facing technological and macroeconomic challenges. However, the results of our survey show that CEOs in the UAE are optimistic, resilient and flexible in their approaches to finding ways to push ahead and grow their businesses in both traditional and non-traditional ways- a sentiment similar to what their GCC counterparts have expressed,” said Vikas Papriwal, Head of Markets of KPMG in the UAE and Oman.
The report, for instance, said that UAE CEOs are much more likely to see cyber security as a way of promoting innovation in products and services.
“Over two-thirds of the CEOs see investment in cyber security as an opportunity to generate new revenue streams and innovate rather than being just an overhead cost,” said the report.
UAE CEOs, however, differ compared to their global peers in their preparedness when it comes to the potential occurrence of a cyber attack.
“While four in ten (42 per cent) global CEOs feel they are fully prepared to deal with a potential cyber event, almost three quarters (72 per cent) of CEOs in UAE felt they were not yet fully prepared,” said the report. “This is further underlined by the fact that more than nine in ten of UAE CEOs expect to see higher investment in cyber security over the next three years,” it added.