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The results of the 2015 Fortune 500 CEO survey are in…

Winston Churchill (Left) and Warren Buffet (Right)Winston Churchill (Left) and Warren Buffet (Right)
Winston Churchill (Left) and Warren Buffet (Right)Churchill: Carl Mydans—The Life Picture Collection/Getty Images; Buffett: Lucas Jackson—Reuters

What are your company’s biggest challenges?*

1. The rapid pace of technological innovation 72%
2. Cyber security 66%
3. Increased regulation 61%
4. Shortage of skilled labor 34%
5. Management diversity 25%
6. Competition from a start-up 20%
7. Shareholder activism 20%
8. Competition from China/developing countries 4%

*Percent who answered either “single biggest challenge” or “one of our top three or four challenges.”

Who is your company’s most dangerous competitor?

1. Another Fortune 500 company 57%
2. A smaller established company 24%
3. An overseas competitor 16%
4. A recent startup 2%

CEOs on Leadership

Winston Churchill (Left) and Warren Buffet (Right)

•  94% of respondents agree with the statement “My company will change more in the next five years than it has in the last five years.”

•  84% agree with the statement “It would be easier to manage my company if it were a private company.

•  67% say a public company has equal responsibility to customers, shareholders, employees, and the broader community.

•  51% think it’s important to take a stand on some public issues.

•  82% plan to employ more people two years from now.

•  75% of CEOs believe CEOs are paid appropriately.

•  76% of respondents think society will benefit “if employees take responsibility for their own health care and retirement.”

•  80% of CEOs say they directly answer all or most of their email.

•  The average CEO has between four and 12 direct reports.

•  More than 60% of respondents believe that optimal tenure atop a Fortune 500 company is five to 10 years.

Favorite Books of CEOs

Favorite book: Good to Great by Jim Collins
Runner up: Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell

Leader most respected by CEOs

Winner: Ronald Reagan
Runners up: Winston Churchill and Warren Buffett (tie)

Most Admired CEOs (excluding themselves)

Tim Cook (Left) and Jamie Dimon

Winners: Tim Cook and Jamie Dimon (tie)


A shorter version of this article appears in the June 15, 2015 issue of Fortune with the headline ‘Fortune 500 CEO Survey.’