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Greek CEOs See Stronger Economy Ahead but Still Cautious

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Athens, Greece

Looking ahead, Greek CEOs are optimistic about the country’s economy, which they believe will show signs of recovery in the next three years, according to a new study carried out by auditors KPMG.

The annual CEO Outlook found that companies are still making efforts to cover lost ground after the country’s 10-year economic crisis, which has made executives more conservative in their actions.

According to KPMG, Greek CEOs are still less flexible compared to their counterparts in the study’s main research countries including Australia, France, Germany, the UK, the US, Japan, India, Spain, Italy, and China, where 67 percent said flexibility was the “new currency” for business growth against 32 percent in Greece.

Presenting the main findings of the survey this week, KPMG Senior Partner  in Greece, Nikos Vouniseas said 66 percent of Greek CEOs polled said they have confidence in the growth prospects for Greece over the next three years, a viewpoint largely based on the country’s exit from its bailout program last August.

Of those surveyed, 68 percent said they were aiming to expand their businesses into developed markets in the next three years citing the need for greater certainty as the main reason.

“The yields in these countries may be lower, but they are more stable,” explained Vousineas, adding that the percentage of businesses seeking to acquire and merge still remains low.

The majority (64 percent) of Greece’s top executives said they are currently not interested in mergers and acquisitions, with 36 percent considering it a good move that will have a positive impact.

In this direction, 44 percent of Greece’s CEOs said they were willing to invest in improving their staff’s technological know-how but at the same time only 24 percent said they would prioritize investments in HR education.

The study also found that Greece is still lagging far behind its counterparts with regard to the implementation of AI (artificial intelligence) with a mere 2 percent or one on 50 organizations moving ahead with the new technology against the global figure of 16 percent.

pixabayAt the same time, more than half (58 percent) said they consider IT systems security a strategic operation and possible source of competitive advantage for their company compared to 71 percent in other countries.

Earlier this year, PwC’s annual Global CEO Survey found that more than half (54 percent) of Greece’s CEOs were more concerned about the increasing tax burden, against 25 percent of their colleagues globally, and compared to 81 percent in 2017.

Greece also ranked 36th (or last) on Grant Thornton’s global optimism index at the start of the year behind Turkey and Argentina in the second quarter of 2018, with confidence levels of Greek business owners in the negative for a fourth consecutive year marking a new “all-time low”.

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