Survey: Different Concerns Top Lists Of CEOs In Asia, Europe, U.S.

CEOs in Asia are more concerned with issues such as stimulating innovation and getting top talent than their U.S. and European counterparts, who are focused more on sustaining top-line growth, a new survey says. According to the survey, 51% of CEOs in Asia cited stimulating innovation as their greatest concern, compared with 34% of CEOs in Europe and 28% of CEOs in the United States. And 47% of CEOs in Asia listed acquiring top talent as their greatest concern, compared with 32% of European CEOs and 22% of CEOs in the United States. The survey was released by the Conference Board, a New York-based research group, and sponsored by search firm Heidrick & Struggles International Inc. and technology firm PeopleSoft Inc. "The challenges Asian firms face in gaining greater speed, flexibility and adapting to change largely arise from the lack of management bench strength and the inability of many Asian CEOs to systematically develop their organizational ranks," suggests Kyung H. Yoon, Heidrick & Struggles vice president. "First, the depth of innovative managers with global perspectives is relatively thin, and the educational systems in Asia emphasize memorization of facts and the ability to take tests. . . . Second, Asian cultures are risk averse . . . so that they are less likely to take on projects which might be 'out of the box.'" However, an examination of the results from all CEOs surveyed shows that 52% say steady or sustained growth is their greatest concern. "Growth is clearly job one for CEOs of most leading companies, and increasingly innovation is seen as the key to prosperity," says Conference Board President and CEO Richard E. Cavanagh. The survey was of 539 global CEOs.

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