CEOS are Gearing Up for Recovery and Growth

April 12, 2010 – CEOs appear to be emerging from recession mode and priming for a return to growth, according to results of The Conference Board CEO Challenge 2010 Survey, which polls CEOs about the greatest challenges facing them in the year ahead. “Both the year-on-year movement and rank order of challenges suggest that CEOs' focus has moved from crisis reaction to preparations for recovery,” said Jonathan Spector, CEO of The Conference Board. “Clearly, CEOs in the United States in particular are returning their focus to the road to growth. We're seeing a similar trend in the overall business questions we capture from our members.” Nearly 200 CEOs, chairmen, and company presidents updated their responses: with no control over the turbulent global economy, CEOs refocused on “bread and butter” survival issues, while longer-term challenges, especially in talent management, were de-emphasized. The critical issues of excellence in execution and consistent execution of strategy by top management have consistently remained at the top of the list. But in the latest survey (which was conducted between October and December 2009), such growth-oriented challenges as sustained and steady top-line growth, customer loyalty and retention, and profit growth received higher ratings as “greatest concerns.” Also gaining importance were corporate reputation for quality products and services, and stimulating innovation, creativity, and enabling entrepreneurship.

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