What Issues Are Worrying CEOs?

What Issues Are Worrying CEOs?

Jan. 22, 2024
Business leaders say AI is the most important technology for their company to address in the next 12 months.

This year CEOs will continue to face a lot of disruption, according to the Disruption Index from AlixPartners. The annual survey, which canvasses more than 3,000 CEOs and senior executives around the world, found emerging factors, outside of the CEOs control, will be prevalent in 2024. Here are some of the issues. 

Geopolitical Events

Geopolitical events, including the wars in Ukraine and Gaza, the 2024 U.S. presidential election, and ongoing friction with China, are causing CEOS to adjust their strategies.. 

To quantify that concern, the survey found that 66% of CEOs say they worry about the impact of the 2024 U.S. presidential election on their company, and 68% report that U.S.-China tensions are causing them to change plans.


New technologies, in particular generative AI, are their biggest disruptive opportunities over the next year, identified by 68% of executives in the survey. However a majority of CEOs say their company can’t keep up with pace of technological change.

In the survey, 30% of business leaders say AI is the most important technology for their company to address in the next 12 months. However, additional survey findings found that they are not yet taking full advantage of this opportunity.

While 59% of executives are currently investing in generative AI, only 28% report that it is fully embedded across their organizations and workflows.

Many also note that they are still grappling with concerns around AI, including lack of human touch, ethical considerations, legal and regulatory compliance, and a lack of accuracy and reliability.

“Gen AI is both exciting and daunting for leaders and society at large,” noted Simon Freakley, CEO AlixPartners. “What is clear is that the prospects for business are significant and will result in massive productivity gains as well as brand new vectors for revenue growth, value creation, and reskilling at those organizations who best recognize and act upon the opportunity.”  


The survey found that 37% of business leaders say their company has been impacted by environmental concerns.

Most business leaders feel pressure to take a stance on environmental issues from several sources including:

  • government and regulators (68%)
  • investors and board (64%)
  • customers (58%)
  • employees and team members (57%)  

Economic Concerns

Interest rates and the inflationary uncertainty continue to be a concern, and one-third still see the potential for recession on the horizon.

“Although our survey suggests that an increasing number of leaders are feeling more confident in their ability to manage disruption, there’s no room for complacency,” said Simon Freakley, CEO of AlixPartners, in a statement.

“Those who succeed will be the ones who act quickly and decisively in the face of external challenges and at the same time execute brilliantly on the factors under their direct control. The winners will be those who can harness external challenge for internal benefit, in particular by unlocking the force multiplier effect afforded by AI.”

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