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GCC CEOs Express Greater Optimism For Technological Disruption Than Their Global Counterparts, KPMG Survey Finds

65% of GCC CEOs are more optimistic than their global counterparts about disruption

Wednesday, October 11, 2017
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Following the launch of the 2017 KPMG Global CEO Outlook Survey, KPMG has released the GCC edition of the report. The survey found that a majority of GCC CEOs are more optimistic about technological disruption than their global counterparts.

Instead of being disrupted by competitors, eight out of ten CEOs in the Gulf thought that their organization was actively disrupting the sector in which they operate. Also, 92 per cent believed that they were effective at sensing market signals, while 68 per cent said their company was keeping up with new technologies.

Vijay Malhotra, Chairman, KPMG Lower Gulf said: “With the ongoing pressure to deliver results, GCC CEOs understand that stimulating innovation is a strategic priority for growth and they are investing heavily in this aspect of their business. We expect that much investment will also be made in emerging technologies, increasing headcount, and both physical and digital infrastructure over the next few years.”

Although most CEOs said that they will be treating cyber security as a priority in the coming three years, they were not overly concerned about the threat. Most believed that such a risk prompted innovation in products and services and all said their respective organizations are prepared for an eventual cyber event.

GCC CEOs also outlined some of the challenges they face while managing customer relationships in their respective industries and these largely revolved around keeping up with a fast-changing market. One of the top challenges, reported by 30 per cent of CEOs, was the difficulty they faced when targeting Millennials- a segment known to interact with brands in different ways.

Yet, nine out of ten CEOs believed they were able to confidently communicate how their company created value for their customers. Seven in ten, however, thought the depth of their customer insight is hampered by a lack of quality customer data.

Vikas Papriwal, Head of Markets, KPMG Lower Gulf said: "The 2017 GCC CEO Outlook Survey paints a confident, optimistic picture of Gulf States CEOs who are anticipating disruption and taking steps to either respond successfully or to bring about the disruption themselves. This growing confidence in their ability to adjust to a new reality and invest in non-oil driven sources of expansion is indeed an excellent sign of maturity for the GCC region."

The 2017 GCC CEO Outlook Survey is based on over 100 face-to-face interviews with chief executives from across the Gulf, covering a broad range of key industries. The sample reflected the Gulf region’s economy as a whole, as the majority of CEOs worked for public companies. 

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