Press releases

68% of Irish CEOs have started to mitigate against potential impact of Brexit

95% of Irish CEOs think a ‘no deal’ Brexit would have a negative impact on the economy and 59% think it would have a negative impact on their business.

84% of respondents reported that they had plans to expand their business overseas in the next year

Almost seven in ten (68%) Irish CEOs have said they have acted to mitigate against the potential impact of Brexit, according to a survey of Irish business leaders issued today by Deloitte and Enterprise Ireland ahead of the CEO Forum. The main areas of mitigation action included scenario planning, changes to supply chain and engaging with government and other agencies.

95% of Irish CEOs have said a ‘no deal’ Brexit would have a negative impact on the economy and 59% think it would have a negative impact on their business. Furthermore, 45% said delays in the Brexit deal decision making process were negatively impacting business operations.

Four in ten (44%) said that Brexit had impacted their business over the past 18 months, while almost six in ten (56%) said it had not impacted. Of those who said it had an impact the majority cited a negative impact.

When asked what impact Brexit would have on their business over the next three years three in ten (31%) reported that they thought they would have lower profits, while 10% thought they would have slightly higher or higher profits. A third (34%) reported a negligible change and a quarter (25%) said they did not know or that it was not applicable.
Nine in ten (93%) Irish CEOs said they are confident about their companies’ prospects for revenue growth in the next year.


Eight in ten (84%) Irish CEOs are planning to expand over the next 12 months. The Eurozone (27%), UK (21%) and North America (20%) were considered the top ‘new markets’ to offer opportunity to grow exports. When asked to identify the markets/countries, within the Eurozone, that offer the most potential/opportunities for their business, respondents listed Germany, France and The Netherlands as the top three.


The top challenges cited by CEOs included availability of skills, retention of talent and competitiveness.
Nine in ten (92%) are concerned that macro-economic issues would impact Ireland’s competitiveness and the top concerns were Brexit, US tax reform, currency fluctuations and Irish tax.

2018 is a milestone year as it marks 30 years of the Deloitte Enterprise Ireland CEO Forum. For 30 years the forum has been attracting Irish business leaders, providing a platform for networking and knowledge sharing.

Speaking ahead of the event, Brendan Jennings, CEO, Deloitte said: “Despite the uncertainty surrounding Brexit, US tax reform, currency fluctuations and Irish tax, Irish business leaders remain optimistic. It’s really interesting that confidence in revenue growth is high among CEOs, but longer term we see that they are more cautious with three in ten expecting lower profits over the next three years as a result of Brexit. Brexit is a concern and for those businesses who have yet to put preparedness plans in place, they should consider doing so now to ensure they are fully aware of both the challenges and opportunities.”

“Today is a milestone day as we host our 30th forum. There has been a resounding and common thread through each Forum and that is the relentless focus that Irish organisations have had on growth. Other common themes include the focus on the customer and the appetite amongst Irish companies to try new things and embrace new technologies. My view is that by using the skills, experience and resilience of what we have learned from the commonalities over the 30 years, we can embrace and tackle head on the changes that the future brings,” said Mr Jennings.

Julie Sinnamon, CEO, Enterprise Ireland commented: “The survey results reflect that business leaders have ambitious plans for future growth with 84% of CEOs planning to expand their business overseas in the next year, citing the Eurozone as one of the key markets with strong market growth potential. The Eurozone provides many advantages including a market of 350m people, currency stability and common standards for Irish companies looking to export and we are encouraging Irish exporters to view it as an extension of their home market.

As the Brexit negotiations continue, we are supporting Irish companies to consolidate exports in the UK market, while at the same time, accelerating our market-diversification strategy, helping more Irish companies to build scale and expand reach in high growth markets,” concluded Julie Sinnamon.


Issued by Murray on behalf of Deloitte Ireland and Enterprise Ireland

For Further Information Please Contact

Aoibheann O’Sullivan / Jill Farrelly
01 4980346 / 01 4980300

Claire Quinn
01 4172356

Notes to Editor

About the CEO Forum

The Deloitte and Enterprise Ireland CEO Forum, one of Ireland's principal business conferences, is taking place on Thursday 22nd November in Dublin Castle.

2018 is a milestone year as it marks 30 years of the CEO Forum in Ireland. For 30 years the forum has been attracting Irish business leaders, providing a platform for networking and knowledge sharing to support CEOs in dealing with their most critical agenda.

The 2018 Forum, entitled ‘Irish business of the future’ will discuss some of the most critical and transformational developments facing today’s Irish CEO - from the complexity of Brexit and the wider geopolitical landscape to the challenges, and opportunities, that are brought about through the fourth industrial revolution.

Speakers include:

• Siobhan Talbot, CEO, Glanbia

• Mark Gallagher, CEO, Performance Insights Ltd and former management lead at Formula One

• Susan Spence, Co-Founder, SoftCo

• Bob Etchingham, CEO, Applegreen

• Alan Walsh, CEO, IPL Plastics

• Julie Sinnamon, CEO, Enterprise Ireland

• Brendan Jennings, CEO, Deloitte Ireland

About the Survey

The research involved surveying CEOs attending the CEO Forum. It was conducted over the past six weeks and there were over 90 CEOs who responded. The respondents included CEOs from a mix of private/public companies which range in size from SMEs to large plcs and MNCs.

About Deloitte

At Deloitte, we make an impact that matters for our clients, our people, our profession, and in the wider society by delivering the solutions and insights they need to address their most complex business challenges.

As the largest global professional services and consulting network, with approximately 263,900 professionals in more than 150 countries, we bring world-class capabilities and high-quality services to our clients.

In Ireland, Deloitte has nearly 3,000 people providing audit, tax, consulting, and corporate finance services to public and private clients spanning multiple industries. Our people have the leadership capabilities, experience and insight to collaborate with clients so they can move forward with confidence.

In this press release references to Deloitte are references to Deloitte Ireland LLP. The information contained in this press release is correct at the time of going to press. Deloitte Ireland LLP, is the Ireland affiliate of Deloitte NWE LLP, a member firm of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited, a UK private company limited by guarantee (“DTTL”). DTTL and each of its member firms are legally separate and independent entities. DTTL and Deloitte NWE LLP do not provide services to clients. Please see to learn more about our global network of member firms.

About Enterprise Ireland

Enterprise Ireland is the Irish State agency that works with Irish enterprises to help them start, grow, innovate and win export sales in global markets. Enterprise Ireland partners with entrepreneurs, Irish businesses, and the research and investment communities to develop Ireland’s international trade, innovation, leadership and competitiveness. In this way, we support sustainable economic growth and regional development, and help create and sustain employment in Ireland.

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