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44% of US CEOs see GenAI boosting profit this year

US CEOs taking part in PwC’s 27th Annual Global CEO Survey say this is the year when generative AI shows tangible results. They say it will boost employee efficiency, make their products better and boost profits. They also say competitive intensity is poised to increase, making it more difficult for a CEO to take a wait-and-see approach.

Apply productivity multipliers

Your company can never be too productive or too profitable. Fine-tuning the business to deliver stronger growth is harder amid today’s high interest rates, “sticky” inflation and geopolitical fractures. Cutting costs may work in the short-term, but possibly at the cost of impairing your company’s potential. A better path to consider is flipping the cost-cutting script – guide the CFO and the executive team to judge the importance of an expense by its value to the business strategy, not by its cost. And level set expectations that technology projects deliver pre-specified financial outcomes. Those are trusted, productivity-boosting approaches to help build shareholder value in today’s unsettled times.

Wanted: Exponential thinking

Having a well-oiled, profit-making machine is good for today, but a poor strategic plan for delivering long-term value. Your choice is stark: either change the company to enable survival or risk having change forced upon it. Exponential strategic thinking grounded in data-driven analysis can help you stay ahead of business model disruption stemming from innovation, regulations or new competitors. Working with the board to alter the business through divestitures, mergers, spin outs or enterprise-wide transformation may seem radical but the leaders who regularly scrutinize their portfolio of businesses may have a better chance of coming out on top.


of global CEOs think their organization will no longer be economically viable in 10 years' time, if it continues on its current course, up from 39% in 2023

Source: PwC’s 27th Annual Global CEO Survey

Retooling technology’s ROI

Increasing productivity? Going big on the future? Technology is at the core of your business model reinvention. But for all of the leaps forward in computing, many companies struggle to realize ROI from technology. The ones who succeed at unlocking digital value know that it’s how they employ technology that makes the difference. They are outcomes obsessed and view breakthroughs, such as generative AI, as a tool that can deliver specific financial targets. Tech risks are ever-present, of course. That’s why CEOs work with CIOs to incorporate trust by design – building in risk management, audit and controls and security from the beginning.

Balancing stakeholder demands

You and the board have very different responsibilities, but you have the same goal: securing the future of the company. To accomplish that, the composition of the board is of paramount importance and executives are demanding changes to address AI and climate. And there are competing relationships that need your attention too as these stakeholders can wield power over your vision. Developing deep and trusted relationships with employees, regulators, NGOs, community groups and others helps align them to, and potentially even accelerate, your strategy. The complex calculus that goes into properly balancing those relationships is a must-have skill for current and up-and-coming CEOs.


of CEOs say one or more directors on their boards should be replaced compared to 39% in 2022

Source: PwC and The Conference Board, Board effectiveness: A survey of the C-suite, April 2024

Climate of opportunity

The C-suite’s focus on ESG regulatory compliance is understandable amid the dizzying pace of change at home and abroad. However, you can’t lose sight of potential competitive advantages that arise during tumultuous change. Being at the forefront of emerging issues can open new growth avenues and burnish your company’s reputation for societal leadership. The first step is to make sure that the data underpinning your pledges and commitments is trustworthy and demonstrates that you’re working diligently to meet regulators’ expectations for a cleaner world and stakeholders’ demand for a more resilient business.


of CEOs and other business executives say climate change is a moderate or serious business risk

Source: PwC Pulse Survey, August 2023

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