Trust is regarded as the ne plus ultra of any interpersonal relationship. And successful business partnerships are formed from trusting ties. Trust emerges only over time, yet it can be lost in a heartbeat. And in the Digital Age, trust is the number one success factor – in every respect.

We have devoted this issue of ceo Magazine to a very special topic: trust. Trust is in high demand, but low in availability. According to our global CEO Survey 2017, more than half of those surveyed express concern about today’s dearth of mutual confidence. There are many reasons for this scepticism: new digital technologies, social media, competitors from outside the industry, and today’s seemingly bottomless seas of data.

Ever faster, ever vaster, ever more networked – digitisation has fundamentally changed the playing field. Top-down becomes peer-to-peer. The boundaries between the physical and virtual worlds blur. And despite it all: offline survives. Whether the uniqueness of interpersonal encounters can be fully virtualised is one of the big questions of the future.

Our interview partners come from various industries, represent both start-ups and global corporations, and apply fundamentally different business models. But each of them relies on the trust of their customers, business partners and employees. Because they are fully aware of the importance and driving force of trust. And all of them view the digital transition as an opportunity – a chance to solidify trust. This by using data in a value-adding manner, creating transparency, implementing innovations, enhancing quality, monitoring risks, assuming social responsibility and developing sustainable solutions.

We wish you a mind-broadening read.

Urs Honegger

Urs Honegger

CEO PwC Switzerland