Half of CEOs don’t expect return to ‘normal’ in 2021, KPMG finds

A study by the accounting giant in February and March found that almost half (45%) of global executives do not expect to see a return to a ‘normal’ course of business until 2022

Around half of global CEOs do not expect a return to “normal” in 2021, according to a new survey carried out by KPMG.

The study by the accounting giant, carried out in February and March, found that 45% of global executives expect a return to a normal course of business in 2022.

However, one-third (31%) of the 500 respondents believe this could happen as early as this year.

Furthermore, a quarter (24%) of CEOs surveyed said their business model and operations have permanently changed due to the pandemic.

Bill Thomas, global chairman and CEO of KPMG, said: “Before any major decisions are made, CEOs want to be confident that their workforce is protected against this virus. The Covid-19 vaccine rollout is providing leaders with a dose of optimism as they prepare for a new normal.

“CEOs are scenario planning for difference across certain key markets that could impact their operations, supply chains and people, leading to uneven economic recovery.”

He added: “The pandemic has also been a catalyst for CEOs to evaluate the role their companies play in society.”

Mary O’Connor, interim chief executive at KPMG UK, said: “After steering their businesses through a year dominated by the pandemic, CEOs are shifting their plans from survival to revival.

“Many have already taken strong action to transform their operating model and as they plot their path through recovery, the pressure is on to keep the positive changes made during the pandemic, while mitigating the risks it has brought.”

She added: “While significant concern remains around the future performance about the global economy, most feel confident about the prospects for their own business.”

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