People and technology will drive business - CEO survey

Adapting in the workplace

In Summary

• East African CEOs highlighted operational risk as a top threat to their organisational growth.

Sexual harrassment in the workplace
Sexual harrassment in the workplace

More than two thirds of chief executive officers globally believe agility is the new currency of business.

The 2019 Global CEO Outlook,  observes that if failure by CEOs to adapt to a constantly changing world, will make their businesses irrelevant.


Twenty one per cent of global CEOs said climate change is the biggest risk to organisational growth, the first time in five years it is being rated a top concern compared to technological, territorial, cyber and operational risks.

On the other hand, 26 per cent of East African CEOs highlighted operational risk as a top threat to their organisational growth.

The survey targeted nearly 1,300 CEOs in 11 key markets.

In East Africa, 50 CEOs were surveyed from Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda and Ethiopia in 11 sectors including asset management, automotive, banking, consumer and retail, energy, infrastructure, insurance, life sciences, manufacturing, technology, and telecommunications.

On innovation, 58 per cent of East African CEOs said they want a culture where failure in pursuit of innovation is tolerated. However, this is found in less than a third of their organisations.

Slightly more than half of CEOs are confident they will succeed but are realistic, with 53 per cent projecting cautious three-year growth of up to two per cent, down from 55 per cent in 2018.

This year, CEOs are increasingly focused on building the organisational resilience needed to master disruption and maintain growth momentum. Their confidence in the global economy is falling – and disruption is mounting.


Some of the East African CEOs interviewed was governor of Central Bank of Kenya Patrick Njoroge who said most CEOs think of innovation in the domain of technology, but people are more important. He expressed hope that the greatest innovation will come from the professional services sector because it deals with people.

Joshua Oigara, group CEO KCB Group reiterated the governor’s observation, saying he believes organisations must invest in both people and new technologies.

“However, getting the right skills and talents in the area of new technology is a challenge,” he said.