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The second annual KPMG South African CEO Outlook offers deep insight into the challenges and opportunities faced by 50 CEOs leading many of South Africa’s largest and most complex businesses.

The research offers a unique perspective of the strategic issues on which these CEOs focus as they lead their businesses through a period of profound change and significant opportunity.

The past 12 months have also seen new waves of uncertainty that are compelling CEOs to think in fresh ways about the disruptive forces affecting their businesses. KPMG’s advice of “now or never” as a focus for 2016 still stands, but the CEOs interviewed this year say that in the face of new challenges and uncertainties, they are feeling the need for urgency to “disrupt and grow”.

This year’s CEO Outlook emphasises that disruption has become a fact of life for CEOs and their businesses as they respond to heightened uncertainty. But importantly, most see disruption as an opportunity to transform their business models, develop new products and services, and reshape their businesses to become more successful.

Most CEOs interviewed for this year’s study remain optimistic about their companies and their prospects, as well as the national and global economy, although less so than last year. They say they are taking steps for their businesses to become disruptors, rather than the disrupted. They recognise the impact of increased geopolitical and economic uncertainties on their businesses and are working hard to be prepared. Moreover, they understand that speed to market and innovation are strategic priorities for growth in these uncertain conditions.

With continued pressure to deliver on the bottom line, CEOs are focusing on managing their businesses’ core strengths while transforming the way they create value. Operating in a more complex and rapidly changing environment is also challenging CEOs like never before, and they need new skills and expertise to lead their organisations. They have to stimulate innovation, oversee new types of customer relationships, manage heightened reputational risks and make bold decisions about their investments in technology.

In the wake of these challenges, it is not surprising that a significant number of these CEOs say they are working to develop new skills and capabilities, as well as exploring new ideas and influences, to drive essential change across their businesses.

Read the report

The 2017 KPMG CEO Outlook offers rich insights into the major forces disrupting today’s business landscape, and shows how today’s CEOs are equipping their companies, and themselves, to manage the challenges of the future.

KPMG is committed to analysing and sharing insights, and its partners and professionals welcome the opportunity to discuss how you can “disrupt and grow” your organisation.

For more information, contact Nqubeko Sibiya, communications specialist at KPMG in South Africa.

This article was paid for by KPMG.

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