Lynn Russo Whylly

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End of an Era: Last of Otellini’s Boys to Retire

Is Intel's Stacy Smith really ready for a new beginning or is he just tired of waiting for the CEO position to come his way?

Are CEOs in a ‘Wait-and-See’ Holding Pattern?

Since March, when CEO confidence was at its highest in the last 12 months (7.41 on a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being the highest), CEOs’ confidence has been weakening month over month—but only slightly—finishing out July with a rating of 7.00. And while the latest rating is still significantly higher than a year ago—5.70 in August 2016—three months prior to the election, over the past few months, more CEOs appear to be reserving judgment until they see what happens next. In addition, while most companies are bullish, the percentage of respondents who anticipate their revenues to grow this year has fallen slightly over the last three months. In April, 85% of CEOs expected their revenues to grow this year. In July, that number dropped to 80%. Of that, the largest downward trend appears to be among those business leaders who anticipated revenue growth above 20%. In April, 14.9% of respondents anticipated +20% growth. In July, the number of respondents in that category is down to 9.8%. Some CEOs are concerned While most comments were positive, some CEOs questioned the direction the country is going in. “Opportunities abound for the strategic and aggressive leader. But, declining integrity coupled with technological advances (are) a concern,” one CEO said. Another felt that “Unproductive political distractions in the White House and aggressive posturing toward trading partners like Mexico and China leave one very concerned about the stability of our economy under this President.” In a nutshell, this CEO said, “It’s unclear what tomorrow will bring.” Size doesn’t matter Small-company CEOs are the most concerned about the future, although the rating differences by size are minimal. CEOs of small companies rated their confidence in future business conditions a 6.79, compared with upper mid-marketers at 7.06, lower mid-marketers at 7.02 and large companies at 7.00. The rating difference between large and small companies is 3%. Transportation industry outlook improves 30%; 12 others have weaker outlooks Of 15 industry sectors, just three have improved outlooks for future business (12 months from now) compared to the future outlook rating they gave six months ago, in January. The Advertising/Marketing/PR/Media/Entertainment, Transportation (Air/Rail) and Energy/Utility sectors each have significantly improved ratings, with Transportation CEOs overall increasing their rating by 30%, from 5.40 in January to 7.00 in July. Financial Services CEOs reduced their rating the most, by 10%, from 7.07 in January to 6.37 in July.

Last 12 Months: CEO Confidence is on a Steady Uptick

[caption id="attachment_60713" align="aligncenter" width="535"] Ratings based on a scale of 1-10 with 10 being the highest.[/caption] Although it has dipped slightly in the last two months, CEO confidence made significant strides in the last six months compared to the previous six months.

5 Year Climb: 2017 Outshines the Previous 4 Years

CEOs clearly have more confidence in the future today than they did during President Obama's last four years.
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CEO CONFIDENCE INDEX

CEO Confidence Falls To Decade Low, But Few Predict Recession

Chief Executive’s June survey of 278 U.S. CEOs shows leading confidence indicator now at 5.5/10, the lowest reading in nearly a decade. Majority forecasts worsening conditions in the year ahead, though not a recession.