Are CEOs Betting Big on Growth in 2024?
Mokshita P.
Artificial Intelligence

Are CEOs Betting Big on Growth in 2024?

62 percent of CEOs focus on growth; AI emerges as top digital transformation theme, with 34 percent highlighting its importance, while 87 percent see more benefits than risks in AI advancements.

According to a new survey by Gartner, 62 percent of CEOs have identified growth as their top business priority for 2024. This is the highest level since 2014 and a significant jump from last year when only 49 percent of CEOs prioritised growth. David Furlonger, a Distinguished VP Analyst and Gartner Fellow, commented that this shift suggests CEOs and senior business executives believe the toughest economic times are behind us. We're seeing a rise in business leader confidence and new business strategies being launched.

The 2024 Gartner CEO and Senior Business Executive Survey, conducted from July through December 2023, included 416 CEOs and other senior executives from various regions like North America, Europe, Asia/Pacific, Latin America, the Middle East, and South Africa. These executives came from different industries, revenue brackets, and company sizes. The survey revealed that many CEOs are now adopting a growth-focused mindset.

When it comes to digital transformation, AI has become a major focus. About 34 percent of CEOs see AI as the key theme for the next wave of business transformation, overtaking operations efficiency, which only 9 percent of CEOs identified. Don Scheibenreif, another Distinguished VP Analyst at Gartner, noted that AI, particularly GenAI, is now the most mentioned term among CEOs. Many CEOs believe the AI advancements in 2023 justified the hype in the tech sector. They are relying on their CIOs, CTOs, or CDOs to harness the value of GenAI, emphasising a collaborative approach to these projects.

Despite their optimism, CEOs are cautious about AI. While 87 percent believe the benefits of AI outweigh the risks, and 90 percent think the idea of AI being an existential threat is exaggerated, they do have concerns. For instance, 56 percent are worried about issues like disinformation, misinformation, and deep fakes, and 53 percent see general supply chain issues as a problem due to the demands created by GenAI. Additionally, 29 percent are concerned about a constrained electricity supply.

Scheibenreif advises that CEOs should support low-cost GenAI projects but avoid trying to control GenAI's use centrally. The enthusiasm and momentum around AI are too strong to be managed from the top down. Instead, he suggests that CEOs should let the natural cycle of hype and disillusionment play out. They should only intervene in projects that might harm the company’s reputation and allow the broader market to regulate itself.