Cyber threat, misinformation top concerns for CEOs, says PwC global survey

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March 12, 2021 12:45 AM

Cyber threat is a top concern for CEOs in the asset and wealth management, insurance, private equity, banking and capital markets, and technology sectors, the survey findings revealed.

The level of optimism expressed by CEOs is the highest since the annual survey started asking this question in 2012. The PwC annual global CEO survey was conducted during January-February 2021.The level of optimism expressed by CEOs is the highest since the annual survey started asking this question in 2012. The PwC annual global CEO survey was conducted during January-February 2021.

An overwhelming 76% of 5,050 CEOs spread across 100 countries and territories, including India, polled by PwC in a survey said they are optimistic about the global economy, even as the world completes a year under the shadow of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The level of optimism expressed by CEOs is the highest since the annual survey started asking this question in 2012. The PwC annual global CEO survey was conducted during January-February 2021.

“CEOs now face two fundamental challenges: first, how to build trust with a broad range of stakeholders, whose expectations of business are higher than ever before; and second, how to adapt their businesses and deliver sustained outcomes in a rapidly changing external environment so as to become strong, resilient and productive businesses, post the pandemic,” PwC India chairman Sanjeev Krishan said.

While fear over another pandemic is the topmost threat for business leaders across the globe, majority of India CEOs feel the global economic growth over the next 12 months will improve, reiterating the optimism PwC heard from its clients in recent times, he said.

“As companies expand their use of external partnerships to enable digital solutions and layer them onto legacy IT structures, the complexity created tends to generate ever-greater cyber risk which is an area that Indian business leaders need to tackle in the months to come,” Krishan said.

Cyber threat is a top concern for CEOs in the asset and wealth management, insurance, private equity, banking and capital markets, and technology sectors, the survey findings revealed.

Kotak Mahindra Bank founder & CEO Uday Kotak said, “During Covid, we have witnessed increased fraud in the banking system. The thought of losing my customers’ money to theft is what keeps me up at night. So, while Covid has brought about a significant increase in digital adoption and transactions, it has also increased the risks associated with digital.”

Also rising rapidly on the list of CEOs’ concerns is the spread of misinformation (28% are ‘extremely concerned,’ up from 16% in last year’s study), the recent impact of which on elections, reputations and public health has been profound. At its core, misinformation reflects today’s historically low levels of trust. For business leaders who need to build back this trust, being transparent about the efficacy of products and sharing data can help.

The survey findings show that the US has extended its lead as the number one market that CEOs are looking to for growth over the next 12 months at 35%, seven percentage points ahead of China at 28%, the report revealed.

“At 17%, Germany holds on to its number three spot on the list of growth destinations, while the UK, post-Brexit, moves up to number four (11%), surpassing India (8%). Japan also rises up the ranking to become the sixth most attractive growth destination, overtaking Australia which held that position last year,” it said.

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