CEO Optimism Climbs to Multi-Year High
Industry TrendsBoard and CEO Advisory
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February 25, 2021
Industry TrendsBoard and CEO Advisory
With the global pandemic coming to an end, CEOs see significant growth going forward as they adjust to life in a post-pandemic world.

Hunt Scanlon Media

The Hunt Scanlon Media article, "CEO Optimism Climbs to Multi-Year High​," quoted Russell Reynolds Associates Consultant and Leader of the Americas Region Constantine Alexandrakis on his view of the COVID-19 recovery in the US market. The article is excerpted below. 

America’s CEOs are increasingly convinced that the COVID crisis, which has crushed the global economy, will soon come to an end. In Chief Executive magazine’s latest poll of more than 300 U.S. CEOs, a growing number of business leaders now forecast growth in revenues and capital expenditures. In the poll, chief executives rated their confidence in future business conditions at 7.1/10 on average — a two year high. Meanwhile, they rated their confidence in current business conditions “good,” at 6.2 out of 10 on a one to 10 scale (+1 percent since January). 
A Delayed 'V' Recovery 
“I think this recovery is already occurring within the U.S.,” said Constantine Alexandrakis, leader of the Americas region for Russell Reynolds Associates. “It started with a few industries leading the way – examples include pharmaceuticals, med devices, biopharma, technology, some areas of financial services, and consumer products – and some of those never even saw a downturn. Their progress was followed by subsequent upturns during the fall in others like industrial, education, and health services. In effect, it has been almost like a ‘delayed V.’ And although the relative unemployment rate is high and is likely to stay there for the medium term, it feels like it’s the result of a combination of some sectors that are still suffering (for example dining and travel) and other sectors that are thriving but are transforming and driving manpower efficiencies to cut costs for their new reality.” 

Given that Russell Reynolds Associates is a global recruitment and leadership assessment firm that works across multiple industries, Mr. Alexandrakis said that it is hard to completely generalize the answer. “But I can say that last spring we saw client demand drop significantly across many of the industries we serve,” he said. “While in some cases demand did not drop at all, in many cases it dropped as much as 50 percent. But by late summer and early fall, demand started to recover significantly. In fact, in many cases, the fourth quarter of 2020 showed growth over the fourth quarter of 2019, which itself was a time of record high demand. So, taken altogether, I can say that our teams across the U.S. and across the world are in high demand by our clients as they drive the transformation and repositioning of their organizations for the long term. We are working hard each day to help our clients improve the way the world is led and improve the way it will be led in a post-pandemic era.” 

Thanks to significant investments in the latest hardware for all of the firm’s employees, as well as major software innovations, the search firm was able to seamlessly move from an in-office environment to a 100 percent work-from-home model, according to Ms. Alexandrakis. “Since then, depending on the country, some of our colleagues have returned to the office, or at least periodically work there,” he said. “Like most of our clients however, we are still months away from a normal in-office regime.” 

“That said, we expect to remain flexible and committed to an agile, hybrid work approach for the future,” he said. “This means depending on client needs, colleague needs, and any other factors, allowing our teams to work from where makes the most sense and to have the flexibility to adapt as needed. The new reality is also driving us to innovate in how we drive apprenticeship and mentorship for our teams and reinforce and strengthen our culture, which is one of our most important assets. And with respect to how we deliver our projects to our clients, the replacement of client and candidate phone calls and in-person meetings with Zoom meetings is likely to continue, although in-person meetings are bound to return.”​ 

To read the full article, click here.