Many Malaysian CEOs Believe Their Company No Longer Viable In 10 Years

CEO survey

PwC, the renowned professional service network, has recently released their 27th Annual Global CEO Survey (Malaysia). According to the report, almost half (43%) of Malaysia-based CEOs say they do not believe their organisations will be economically viable in a decade if they continue on their current path.

Throughout the Asia Pacific region, it appears that many CEOs are divided over the future of the global economy. Up to 45% of survey participants anticipate a decline in the economy while 40% expect an improvement in 2024.

According to the report, Malaysia’s CEOs are slightly more optimistic about the economic outlook in 2024 compared to last year. Despite this, confidence remains fragile as up to 93% of Malaysian CEOs have reportedly taken steps to transform their business in order to deliver and capture more value over the past five years. In that time, 77% took at least one action that had a large or very large impact on their company’s business model.

Despite their actions, CEOs are facing a number of challenges. Up to 70% of Malaysian CEOs believe that their companies lack the appropriate skills to enact effective change. Two-thirds (64%) also point to the lack of technological capabilities.

Macroeconomic volatility, inflation and cyber risks a top concern

While Malaysian CEOs are more optimistic in the coming year, macroeconomic volatility (30%) and inflation (27%) remain as prime concerns. Notably, cyber risks have also become a greater concern among CEOs.

CEOs mostly optimistic about generative AI (GenAI)

Optimism surrounding GenAI remains high, but it also comes with cybersecurity risks. Up to 73% of Malaysian CEOs have substantial concerns about the risks associated with GenAI. On the other hand, 41% of Malaysia CEOs foresee substantial impacts on their companies, workforce and markets within the next three years. 82% of CEOs also anticipate the need for workforce skills acquisition in response to GenAI.

Climate change a work in progress

In terms of climate change, CEOs in Malaysia show some progress in decarbonisation efforts – 85% and 73% are currently in progress or have completed energy efficiency improvements and innovation of new, climate-friendly products, services or technologies, respectively. This is higher than the Asia Pacific average at 68% and 51% respectively.

“This year’s data suggests a high degree of CEO uncertainty ahead, but CEOs are taking action. They are transforming their business models, investing in technology and their people, and managing the risks and opportunities presented by the climate transition. If businesses are to thrive over the short and long-term, build trust, and deliver sustained and long-term value, they must accelerate the pace of reinvention,” said Bob Moritz, Global Chair of PwC.

“Amidst the optimism surrounding global economic prospects, the delicate confidence among CEOs show that the continued viability of the organisation rests on the efforts of all layers of business. The stakes are high: the reinvention mandate needs to consider technological disruption in the form of GenAI and climate change challenges among other issues. The answers to these megatrends may not yet exist. This opens up meaningful opportunities and collaborative ecosystems for public-private partnerships to tackle complex societal challenges like cybersecurity and workforce skills needs,” said Soo Hoo Khoon Yean (Soo Hoo), Managing Partner at PwC Malaysia.

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