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European CEO’s believe innovation, talent and skills development are keys to continued economic recovery, according to FEB, Accenture, and INSEAD Survey


Survey of more than 250 CEO’s focuses on key business issues facing European companies

Brussels - A majority of CEO’s believe that Europe can recover from its current economic turmoil by focusing on innovation and building the talent and skills of the European workforce, according to a joint survey by Accenture (NYSE:ACN), and INSEAD, a leading international business school, and commissioned by the Federation of Enterprises in Belgium (FEB). The survey findings are the focus of a report entitled “Putting Europe Back on Track,” issued today by the FEB at the European Business Summit 2010. The summit is focused on how to build a more competitive and sustainable European Union.

Putting Europe back on track is the main theme of the 8th European Business Summit (EBS), which was officially opened by the Belgian Federation of Enterprises (FEB) and BUSINESSEUROPE today at Tour & Taxis in Brussels. The two-day event will provide a key platform for business, government and opinion leaders from across Europe and the world to explore a way forward to a more competitive and sustainable Europe.

The CEO Survey is based on more than 250 responses from chief executives and other leaders from the public and private sectors. The respondents identified several areas that will impact Europe’s recovery and specific actions that need to be taken to sustain that recovery:

* Europe can recover and become stronger. Sixty-five percent of CEO’s whose companies grew in 2009 believe that Europe can recover from the current economic turmoil and become a leading player in the global economy by 2020.
* Innovation will be at the core of Europe’s recovery. More than two thirds of the CEO’s surveyed said their companies were looking at innovation as a key to putting their businesses back on track.
* The quality and diversity of its people remains one of Europe’s biggest advantages.More than two-thirds (70%) of the respondents believe that to take advantage of Europe’s large pool of diverse resources, re-skilling or up-skilling their workforce over the next five years will be critical to Europe’s future business success.

“The survey we’ve done gives food for thought to ourselves in the business community and to European political leadership. CEO’s are still in doubt on the stability of the financial system. They point at the slow pace at which we digitalize our economy and society and at the fragmentation of our R&D efforts. But they are ready to invest in innovation and expansion overseas. In that respect the survey clearly indicates that our business needs an extended highway bridge between Europe and Asia,” said Rudi Thomaes, Chief Executive Officer of the Federation of Enterprises in Belgium.

“To reinforce the foundation of talent in the region, it will be critical for Europe to foster its entrepreneurial spirit,” said J. Frank Brown, Dean of INSEAD. “Europe already has success stories for building entrepreneurial skills. However, scaling these successes will require even more ambitious collaboration between the public and private sectors.”

The report covers a wide range of current business issues, including the challenges and opportunities for European businesses in the areas of climate change and green technologies, global trade, talent and workforce skills. It also looks at the challenges facing small and medium-sized enterprises.

In addition to collecting opinions from CEO’s and business leaders, the report provides a valuable basis for discussion in the various sessions of the 8th edition of the European Business Summit. The report is organised along twelve separate themes, including a focus on topics such as green innovation, SME growth, the influence of Asia and consumer confidence.

“With the global economy now coming out of recession, we’re seeing the contours of a different global economy taking shape with a resurgence of what Accenture calls the ‘multi-polar world.’ This is a world characterized by the diffusion of economic power and influence to a number of different poles around the global economy,” said Jo Deblaere, Accenture’s chief operating officer. “Europe as a whole needs to look beyond the economic crisis and take advantage of the opportunities that might arise from longer-term trends such as an aging population and increasing economic multi-polarity”.

Bruno Lanvin, Executive Director of INSEAD’s eLab, who will also speak and act as a moderator at the Summit, added “Europe must look to its founding principles and its long-term advantages and strengths to identify priorities and actions that can solve its present problems without mortgaging its ability to be a world leader once better times come around”.


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