CEOs hoping that everything comes up roses

January 25, 2011

CHINA-VALENTINE'S/A few things struck me from the annual survey of CEOs that PwC (yup, PricewaterhouseCoopers likes big ‘P’, little ‘w’, big ‘C’) released at Davos this year.

The most obvious was that 48 percent said they were “very confident” of growth in the next 12 months – up from 31 percent last year. Pre-crash confidence again!

But I have to say, I wondered a bit about their crystal ball when 37 percent said they planned to shift sourcing to China — with cost being the most cited reason. With inflation looming and currency moves almost certain, that isn’t necessarily a bet I’d make. There are plenty of reasons to go to China — and I’ve staked my career on it since 1979 — but cost isn’t top of my list in 2011.

The other thing that caught my eye was that managing talent was top of the CEO agenda — higher even than managing risk, investment decisions, reputation or capital structure. But alas, for those hoping for a pay rise out of it — strategy number one was “use more non-financial rewards to motivate staff”. I’ll be sure to ask my CEO Tom Glocer for a pat on the head while we’re here together in Davos!

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