In a reshaped landscape they are positioning for growth and anticipate significant upside opportunities. Early and bold choices on portfolio-transforming investments, particularly acquisitions and divestments, proved decisive in the wake of the global financial crisis. And risk-vs.-return history could be repeating itself for those with the right strategies.
But there are potential downsides. Exogenous risks – geopolitical tension, political market interference and the climate emergency – are top CEO concerns. Risks they can better control, such as managing conflicting stakeholder demands and the cost of talent, come further down the list.
Geopolitical tension is shifting portfolio investments. Many CEOs are rethinking cross-border operations. Increasing neo-statism is redefining a global operating environment largely defined by competition and cooperation among the US, EU and China.
In this context, many CEOs are reconfiguring supply chains to reduce costs and minimize uncertainty. They are presiding over companies with the same products and services, but the way in which those are produced and delivered has completely changed. The pandemic has demonstrated how supply security can be a competitive advantage.
Companies are making these changes while adapting to an increasingly multipolar regulatory environment with complicated – and often conflicting – demands.