CEOs refocusing from survival to growth


The Conference Board says that CEOs across the globe have found that their 2009 pullback into survival mode can be relaxed, and forward-looking priorities focusing on the growth of their companies have come back to the forefront.

“Both the year-on-year movement and rank order of challenges suggest that CEOs’ focus has moved from crisis reaction to preparations for recovery,” said Jonathan Spector, CEO of The Conference Board. “Clearly, CEOs in the United States in particular are returning their focus to the road to growth. We’re seeing a similar trend in the overall business questions we capture from our members.”

The financial crisis that developed in late 2008 forced CEOs to put their efforts to “bread and butter” issues as they attempted to ride out the economic storm. But a year later, they have emerged from that limited mindset.

Instability, lack of confidence and lack of financing were dominant CEO concerns a year at the end of 2008. According to CB, they have been replaced with “…such growth-oriented challenges as sustained and steady top-line growth, customer loyalty/retention, and profit growth received higher ratings as ‘greatest concerns.’ Also moving up were corporate reputation for quality products/services, and stimulating innovation/creativity/enabling entrepreneurship.”

There is also concern about renewed emphasis on government regulation in the United States and Europe, although this is a particular concern of the financial sector, which has taken the brunt of the blame for the economic collapse.