Exeleon Magazine

2024: A Year of Optimism for Global CEOs

Global CEOs 2024

In a recent EY CEO Outlook Pulse survey, global CEOs have expressed optimism for their companies’ revenue growth and profitability in 2024, despite facing a challenging global economic environment. The survey, which included responses from 1,200 CEOs across 21 countries, revealed that 64% expect an increase in revenue growth, and 63% anticipate higher profitability.

This optimism persists even as three-quarters (76%) of the CEOs expect the global economy to continue experiencing low or no growth. Additionally, 78% are preparing for higher interest rates to persist due to ongoing inflationary pressures, and over half (57%) foresee an increase in the cost of doing business.

Andrea Guerzoni, EY Global Vice Chair – Strategy and Transactions, highlighted that CEOs are demonstrating resilience and confidence, actively seeking opportunities for business transformation and growth. Many are revisiting their business transformation plans and exploring smart investments and potential alliances.

The survey also indicates a positive outlook for the deals market in 2024, with 79% of global CEOs predicting an uptick in mergers and acquisitions (M&A) megadeals above $10 billion. The manufacturing sector is identified as the top sector for M&A deals, followed by banking and capital markets, insurance, consumer products, and mobility.

CEOs are also accelerating their transformation plans, with 58% now speeding up their agendas, a significant increase from 21% in July 2023. Key focus areas include efficiency enhancements and cost management strategies, with 41% looking to adopt artificial intelligence (AI) to drive efficiency and bolster business performance.

However, geopolitical risks are a major concern for global CEOs, especially with over half of the global population heading to the polls in the next 12 months. Seventy-eight percent of CEOs are worried about the rise of populist movements, and 76% are concerned about the political misuse of AI in major 2024 elections. As a result, 98% of CEOs and private equity leaders are making alterations to their investment plans to navigate through the volatile geopolitical landscape.

Guerzoni emphasized the importance of integrating geopolitical turbulence into strategic plans and refining risk management processes to navigate through the challenges ahead.

In summary, global CEOs are optimistic about driving revenue growth and profitability in 2024, despite economic headwinds and geopolitical risks. They are actively pursuing business transformation and preparing for a rebound in the deals market, while also remaining vigilant about the potential impacts of political uncertainty and AI misinformation.

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