Top Risks Likely To Keep Executives Up At Night In 2020

The risks highlighted by executives fell roughly into three categories: macroeconomic; strategic; and operational.

Cybersecurity, the impact of heightened regulatory scrutiny, succession challenges and the ability to fend off competition from “born digital” companies are among the top risks for  business executives in 2020, according to Protiviti’s eighth annual Executive Perspectives on Top Risks. The survey of more than 1,000 executives from various industry sectors was published in conjunction with the Enterprise Risk Management Initiative at North Carolina State University.

The risks highlighted by executives fell roughly into three categories: macroeconomic risks that are likely to impact growth opportunities; strategic risks that could affect the pursuit of growth; and operational risks that may affect key operations.

Between 2019 and 2020, regulatory risk rose from third to the number one priority for business executives, while concerns about the economy jumped from 11th spot to second, says Jim DeLoach, managing director of Protiviti, a global consulting firm.

An organization’s digital maturity and ability to innovate directly impacts its ability to attract and retain the brightest candidates, who “want to work for an organization with its best days in front of it, not behind it,” says DeLoach.

An “inability to manage leadership successions, attract and retain the right talent and ensure the appropriate culture is in place may negatively affect an organization’s ability to execute increasingly complex strategies in a rapidly changing digital economy,” DeLoach adds.

Protiviti says organizations should have a culture that encourages transparency and open expression—even of contrarian news—and a process for identifying emerging risks and their root causes.