CEOs cut staff but remain optimistic

And although those actions were a response to current economic pressures, CEOs view them as long-term adjustments to company strategy. This is one of the findings to emerge from PricewaterhouseCoopers’ fifth annual Global CEO Survey, which interviewed 1,161 chief executives from Europe, Asia and the Americas, and was launched at the World Economic Forum in New York.

Despite the economic slowdown and uncertainties surrounding the timing and strength of economic recovery, chief executives clearly believe abundant opportunities remain over the long term. They have been careful to preserve activities they believe are important to future growth and competitiveness; for example, the majority report that they have refrained from cutting back on R&D (82%), curtailing expansion plans (76%) and closing plants or offices (76%).

“Companies are not taking knee-jerk actions. They are making strategic decisions,” said Samuel A DiPiazza, Jr, global CEO of PwC.

The survey found that CEOs have mixed views on issues related to globalisation generally. Almost half believe that the anti-globalisation protest movement does not pose a genuine threat to business, but one-third believe it does.

Nearly half believe globalisation will not exclude developing countries and increase the gap between rich and poor nations but 33% a third do anticipate these negative effects. Still, an overwhelming number of CEOs view globalisation as a positive force for economic (87%) and social (79%) change.

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