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Seventy-three percent of business leaders are ill-equipped for AI transformation, citing limited time, people, and funds, new report from Egon Zehnder and Kearney reveals

20% of business leaders believe their organizations are prepared for AI transformation
85% of business leaders see AI as an opportunity

17 January 2024 – Zürich – Global Leadership Advisory Egon Zehnder, in partnership with Kearney, today releases a report titled ‘Leadership in the Age of AI’ exploring how business leaders foresee the impact of AI on organizations and jobs, and how prepared they feel for this change.

Organizations need to get ready for change

One of the key findings of the report is that while 70 percent of business leaders believe their company will be disrupted by AI in the next five years, only 1 in 5 (20 percent) believe their organization is currently prepared for this disruption. The rapid growth of AI is a contributing factor to this, with 73 percent of those surveyed believing their preparations are limited by time, people, and money. Meanwhile, more than half (51 percent) believe that a lack of understanding around AI from leaders is contributing to the problem. On the flip side, of those who feel their organizations are prepared, 89 percent attribute this to their leadership team’s understanding of AI and its capabilities.

AI remains an opportunity if companies plan ahead

Promisingly, the report found that 85 percent of business leaders still see AI as an opportunity for their organizations, with more than 90 percent seeing it as an opportunity for them personally within their roles. To take advantage, business leaders are getting preparations in order:

  • 49 percent are investing in infrastructure
  • 44 percent are building external partnerships
  • 39 percent are recruiting expert talent

Burcu Bicakci, partner at Egon Zehnder who leads T&C and AI in Southeast Asia, comments:

“Organizations are likely to change drastically with new AI-enabled technologies—and soon. The report underscores the critical role of leadership in comprehending the impact of AI on their business and steering their organization accordingly. Although the pace of AI adoption has accelerated, it is never too late for leaders to devise a clear AI strategy that can guide their organization through this transformative phase and keep them ahead of the curve.”

Alex Liu, managing partner and chairman at Kearney:

“Given the widespread recognition that AI is going to be a disruptive force for most businesses, it is surprising that business leaders still feel that their organizations are unprepared for the changes to come.”

“The report has shown that the prevailing sentiment among leaders when it comes to AI is optimism. The challenge now lies in translating this optimism into tangible action, ensuring both leaders and their teams are ready to overcome the challenges and embrace the opportunities that AI provides.”

Please find a link to the full report here: Leadership in the Age of AI

About Kearney

Kearney is a leading global management consulting firm with deep-rooted expertise in strategic transformation. We work with more than three-quarters of the Fortune Global 500, as well as with government bodies and non-profit organizations. As a global consulting partnership in more than 40 countries, our people make us who we are. We’re individuals who take as much joy from those we work with as the work itself. Driven to be the difference between a big idea and making it happen, we work alongside our clients to regenerate their businesses to create a future that works for everyone. To learn more about Kearney, please visit

About Egon Zehnder

Egon Zehnder is the world’s preeminent leadership advisory firm, inspiring leaders to navigate complex questions with human answers. We help organizations get to the heart of their leadership challenges and offer honest feedback and insights to help leaders realize their true being and purpose. Our 560 consultants across 63 offices and 37 countries are former industry and functional leaders who collaborate seamlessly across geographies, industries, and functions to deliver the full power of the Firm to every client, every time. We believe that together we can transform people, organizations, and the world through leadership. For more information, visit and follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Press contact

Stacy Drumtra, Chicago, Global Marketing Co-Lead | T: +1 312 805 6736

Martin Klusmann, Global Marketing Co-Lead | T: +49 170 236 0101

Tom Stewart-Walvin 
Rostrum – PR consultants to Kearney

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