Business leaders predict strong new millennium but are keeping wary eye on Y2K
According to a new survey, a majority of America's business leaders predict a continuing strong economic picture in the new millennium. Sixty-three percent of the Fortune 1000 CEO's who responded to the 1999 Dom Perignon CEO Survey, report that they are "more optimistic" about their companies' business prospects for 2000 than they were a year earlier.
Yet, even as they celebrate the strong economy, the CEO's are keeping a wary eye on potential Y2K complications. Fifty-four percent say they took Y2K concerns into consideration when making their New Year's plans; 59% say they don't plan to fly on December 31 or January 1; and 5% will be overseeing Y2K transitions at the office while the rest of us are celebrating on New Year's Eve. These are among the results of the annual Dom Perignon survey of Fortune 1000 chief executive officers. This year, responses were received from 241 CEO's.
Twenty-eight percent of the CEO's reported that business performance "exceeded" their expectations in 1999, up 8 percentage points over last year. Forty-three percent of the CEO's reported that business performances met their expectations, down one point from 1998; while 28% reported that their business fell short of expectations, down 6 points.
Even more encouraging, 63% of the CEO's say they are "more optimistic" about business in the year 2000, up 26 points from 1998. Just 7% say they are less optimistic than they were a year ago, down 31 points; and 30% predict that their business will be "about the same," up six points.
When it comes to the Y2K bug, it's interesting to note that the CEO's are taking it personally: 54% say they took Y2K concerns into consideration when they made their own turn-of-the-millennium plans. What will they do? Fifty-nine percent won't fly over the two-day New
Year's holiday; 40% plan to keep some extra cash on hand; and 21% will stock up on necessities like bottled water, canned food, flashlights and batteries at home. Fourteen percent say they will (or already have) replaced older computers, VCR's and other electronic equipment that may be prey to the bug.
The majority of the bosses who responded to this year's Dom Perignon survey say they will be spreading around some of their good cheer as 1999 draws to a close: 78% will give year-end bonuses, up 2% from 1998. Sixty-five percent are planning to throw office parties this year. That's down eight points from last year, but 11% report that they plan more elaborate events to mark the millennium for their employees.
Home is where the heart is for 41% of the CEO's this New Year's Eve, whether they plan to celebrate quietly with their families or throw parties for special friends. Twenty-two percent will celebrate away from home, traveling primarily to lush locales in Florida, Colorado, the Caribbean or Europe; while 15% report they are still undecided about their turn-of-the-millennium plans. Another 10% say they've accepted invitations to parties thrown by others; 6% plan to attend parties at private clubs; while an unfortunate 5% report they'll be at work or "on call" in case of complications as their company computer operations make the transition to the year 2000. Wherever they plan to celebration, 85% of the CEO's say they'll be serving champagn e this holiday season.
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