YPO: 11% of Global Chief Executives Say Their Business is at Risk of Not Surviving the COVID-19 Crisis

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YPO, the global leadership community of more than 29,000 chief executives in 130 countries, conducted an all-member survey to gain a deeper understanding about the impact COVID-19 has had on both businesses globally and on chief executive perspectives at this point in time as compared to YPO’s first COVID-19 Survey from 10-13 March 2020. This new YPO Chief Executive COVID-19 Global Survey, conducted 15-19 April and drawing 3,534 respondents, clearly indicates the impact of the past six weeks to business leaders’ outlooks, with 84% saying it is more negative compared to 1 March.

An Additional 40% say it is a Large Threat to Their Business According to Latest YPO Chief Executive COVID-19 Global Survey

A majority of the over 3,500 chief executive respondents from 109 countries expect recovery to follow a U-shaped curve

New York, NY, 22 April 2020 – YPO, the global leadership community of more than 29,000 chief executives in 130 countries, conducted an all-member survey to gain a deeper understanding about the impact COVID-19 has had on both businesses globally and on chief executive perspectives at this point in time as compared to YPO’s first COVID-19 Survey from 10-13 March 2020.

This new YPO Chief Executive COVID-19 Global Survey, conducted 15-19 April and drawing 3,534 respondents, clearly indicates the impact of the past six weeks to business leaders’ outlooks, with 84% saying it is more negative compared to 1 March.

Key additional findings include:

A high percentage of chief executives across the globe (ranging from 48% in the United States to 68% in Africa) say the COVID-19 crisis is a large or severe threat to their business.

  • - Chief executives in Africa (68%) are significantly more likely than those in Europe (55%), Asia* (54%), Latin America (53%), Australia/New Zealand (52%), Canada (50%), and the United States (48%) to say their business is under large or severe threat.
  • - African business leaders (16%) are the most likely to report their business is at risk of not surviving, while chief executives in Latin America (9%), MENA (9%) and the United States (9%) are the least likely to say their business is at risk of not surviving the current crisis.
  • - Industry plays a big role in respondents’ point of view on their businesses survival. Chief executives in the Hospitality/Restaurant (41%), Aerospace/Aviation (30%), Education (19%), and Retail and Wholesale Sales (19%) are the most likely to say their business is at risk of not surviving.

Almost two-thirds of business leaders (64%) now anticipate negative effects on revenues continuing at least one year from now. Forty-three percent of chief executives expect revenue to be down more than 20% compared to their 1 March 2020 levels.

  • - Conversely, close to one-fifth of chief executives (16%) are expecting revenues to be higher one year from now, compared to 1 March levels.
  • - Chief executives in the United States (37%) and Europe (45%) are the least likely to say they expect their revenues to be down more than 20% a year from now, compared to 1 March 2020 levels, while business leaders in the Middle East/North Africa (60%) and South Asia** (55%) are the most likely to report expecting a more than 20% decrease compared to their 1 March 2020 revenue levels.

Chief executives are trying to lead for the long term, with roughly half of them foreseeing that their total number of employees (51%) and total fixed investment (47%) will remain the same or higher one year from now.

However, one-quarter of respondents (25%) expect their total number of employees and more than one-third (35%) expect their total fixed investments to be down by more than 20% a year from now. This is a sharp increase in pessimism compared to YPO’s first COVID-19 survey from 10-13 March. At that time, only 6% of chief executives anticipated their total number of employees and only 11% of chief executives anticipated their total fixed investment to be down more than 20% a year from then.

  • - United States (22%) and Asia* (24%) chief executives are the least likely to expect their total number of employees to be down more than 20% a year from their 1 March 2020 levels. Business leaders in the Middle East/North Africa (35%), Australia/New Zealand (35%), and Canada (32%) are the most likely to expect their total number of employees to be down more than 20% a year for the same time period.
  • - Chief executives in the United States (29%) and Australia/New Zealand (30%) are the least likely to expect their fixed investment to be down more than 20% a year from now, compared to 1 March 2020 levels. Chief executives in Latin America (46%) and the Middle East/North Africa (45%) are the most likely to expect their total fixed investment to be down more than 20% a year from now for the same time period.

A U-shaped curve – a sharp recession with a longer recovery – is the expected view of the recovery for the majority of chief executives (61%). Twenty-two percent (22%) anticipate the recovery will follow a W-shaped curve – a double-dip recession and recovery. Recovery forecasts did not differ greatly globally.

YPO Chief Executive Global Survey on the Business Impact of COVID-19 Methodology:

The YPO Survey on COVID-19 was conducted by YPO from 15-19 April 2020 via an online questionnaire. A total of 3,534 YPO members responded to the survey. The members in this sample are representative of the larger YPO population and come from 109 different countries. The margin of sampling error is plus or minus 1.55 percentage points at the 95 percent confidence level.

*Asia includes Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Republic of Korea, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam.

**South Asia includes India, Nepal and Sri Lanka.

About YPO:
YPO is the global leadership community of more than 29,000 chief executives in 130 countries who are driven by the belief that the world needs better leaders. Each of our members have achieved significant leadership success at a young age. Combined, they lead businesses and organizations contributing USD 9 trillion in annual revenue. YPO members inspire and support each other through peer learning and exceptional experiences in an inclusive community of open sharing and trust. For more information, visit ‪ypo.org.‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

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Amy Reid
YPO
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