This is the most critical moment for CEOs in modern times. Coming off a roller coaster year and still deep in the throes of the COVID-19 pandemic, leaders in the top executive role have their work cut out for them in 2021.
But who are these individuals? What makes them well-suited for the challenges ahead? We are releasing this year’s list of the CEOs of the Fortune 500 and sharing some insights into who they are, as a group. Get your complimentary download here.
Our executive lists include a complete rundown of the CEOs at the largest companies in the U.S., as well as a deeper look at their business priorities, connections and more. We source this intelligence from our BI PRO platform, which uses all the insights contained in our Executive Profiles to perform complex analyses that help C-level sales and marketing teams more effectively engage senior executives and close bigger deals, faster. (Learn more about BI PRO here.)
Here is a rundown of what’s top-of-mind with CEOs in 2021.
Unlocking growth in the digital economy
For most of us, the new year provides an opportunity to turn the page. The same goes for CEOs. Vaccines are on the move, and the remnants of an intense presidential election are coming to an end. Now, the mindset of CEOs is shifting from adapting and overcoming to finding new, innovative ways to flourish.
The difference now is the opportunity. EY found that 90% of CEOs expect the U.S. economy to recover gradually over the next two years. As a result of pandemic protocols, that new economy will be more digital than ever before.
Incoming CEOs are leaning headlong into the digital world. New Tapestry CEO Joanne Crevoiserat, for instance, is one executive looking to maintain “a relentless focus on the omnichannel experience” at the luxury fashion leader through a data-driven approach.
Now that customers are logging on, CEOs are ready to meet them where they are with transformed business models.
Adjusting operations for agility
The COVID-19 pandemic has taught CEOs a lot, and many of those lessons are here to stay, with streamlined operations and new best practices. Supply chain is one core business function that was left exposed by lockdowns and shortages. And CEOs are finding new possibilities in leveraging or improving their supply chains.
Cintas is one company that relies on its supply chain to make customers’ lives easier with uniforms and other workplace supplies. On the company’s September 2020 earnings call, CEO Scott Farmer discussed how Cintas recently won a large customer because they were able to deliver masks in days while another company would take months.
Whether the goal is faster decision-making or faster delivery, the ability to pounce on opportunities is a must in the new normal, and CEOs have noticed.
Engaging and building teams from afar
In the age of working from home, CEOs face a dilemma: How can companies effectively engage current and potential employees from a distance? In large companies especially, remote work presents challenges when it comes to fostering company culture and effective training.
On the flip side, working from home has proven popular with employees who value freedom and flexibility. A solid majority of employees believe they have better work-life balance without a commute, according to research from staffing leader Robert Half.
In response, companies are taking their talent acquisition online. Ameriprise Financial unveiled a virtual recruitment strategy to attract potential advisors to the firm, a strategy that company CEO Jim Cracchiolo has touted on earnings calls.
“Many advisors have more time to evaluate options, and they're taking advantage of our video sessions, webinars, virtual VIP meetings and open houses to get to know Ameriprise,” Cracchiolo said. “It is a very efficient way to showcase our effective advisor value proposition.”
Sharing lessons learned
While COVID-19 proved to be the ultimate curveball, CEOs are figuring things out by relying on and expanding their network, and connecting the dots is essential in this new environment Our BI PRO platform is built to do just that.
With relationship mapping and other features, BI PRO sheds light on C-suite connections, leadership factories and priorities for all of the CEOs on our Fortune 500 list. Together, our data helps identify the whole picture of where a company is headed and the vision from the top.