CEOs in chemicals look to the future: Key findings from 20 years of surveys of industry leaders

October 11, 2017

Chemical industry leaders are less optimistic about the future. After a period of high M&A activity, their focus is on organic growth and cost reduction - and investments in innovation and human capital are being prioritized to drive new opportunities. Digitization will lead to first tangible changes in 2-3 years.

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Compared to many industries, chemicals industry leaders don’t expect growth
Chemicals CEOs are more concerned about different threats than their peers in other industries
Technology discontinuities are perceived as less of a game changer in the chemicals industry
Chemicals CEOs largely focus on organic growth and cost reduction
Investments in innovation and human capital are highest on the CEO agenda for driving new opportunities
In the war for talent, chemicals CEOs find it hard to recruit critical skills

In a nutshell...

  • Organic growth and cost reduction remain the dominant topics on the CEO agenda
  • M&A is another major lever for growth and for further improving portfolio and sharpening differentiating capabilities
  • Investment in innovation and human capital have clear priority
  • Diversification of talent base and establishment of new capabilities will be crucial to deliver against growth strategies in a challenging environment
  • First tangible impact is to be expected after 2–3 years of exploring the digital agenda

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Iris Herrmann

Partner, Strategy& Germany

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