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AI and the Role of the CEO: Embracing Change

A corporate take on AI adoption.
Emily Hill
Contributing Writer

The advent of artificial intelligence is significantly reshaping the role of Chief Executive Officers, placing them under intense scrutiny from boards and employees alike. This transformation requires CEOs to provide clear leadership around AI initiatives, as they face the complex task of managing change across various business functions and industries.

While some leaders and organizations eagerly adopt AI, anticipating its transformative impact, others exercise caution, wary of the challenges and uncharted territory it presents. This division reflects a broader debate in the corporate sector about the strategic approach to AI: the risk of adopting new technologies prematurely versus the potential disadvantage of lagging in a competitive, tech-driven market. CEOs are weighing the pros and cons of rapid adoption against a more measured, cautious approach.

Why it matters: The influence of artificial intelligence on corporate leadership is profound, with CEOs now at the forefront of steering their companies through this technological revolution. Their ability to effectively integrate AI into business strategies and operations is becoming a key determinant of their success and longevity in their roles.

  • HP CEO, Enrique Lores, and Salesforce AI CEO, Clara Shih, emphasize viewing AI in the context of broader workplace changes, like remote work, as essential. Upwork CEO, Hayden Brown, stresses the importance of leaders in these roles personally driving their company’s AI agenda, given its far-reaching consequences.
  • Initiatives like the AI course created by Coursera CEO Jeff Maggioncalda exemplify the growing need for CEO education in AI.
  • While some view generative AI as overhyped, others, like McKinsey’s Lareina Yee, warn against the risks of lagging in adoption.

Go Deeper -> AI puts every CEO on the hot seat – Axios

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