PricewaterhouseCoopers 12th annual Global CEO Survey has found that a large proportion of CEOs around the globe are expecting a slow three year turnaround for their businesses after being battered by the recent recession.

The results, which were released today in a world economic forum annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland, outlined the views of 1,124 CEOs from 50 countries around the world.

CEOs confidence fell to its lowest level since the PwC survey was introduced in 2003. Just 21 per cent of CEOs worldwide said they were very confident of revenue growth in the next 12 months, down from 50 per cent in last year’s survey. And more than a quarter of CEOs said they were pessimistic about prospects for the coming year.

CEOs optimism and long term company goals also fell since last year, only 34 per cent said they were very confident of growth over the next three years, down from 42 per cent in 2007.

The economic crisis was listed as the major concern for CEOs, roughly 85 per cent of respondents claimed it was their main focus and it was listed in the survey as the only growing risk factor among businesses from previous year’s results.

“The speed and intensity of the recession has rocked the psyches of CEOs and created a global crisis of confidence,” said PricewaterhouseCoopers’ global CEO Samuel A. DiPiazza, Jr.

“CEOs are most concerned about the immediate survival of their companies. Even in once rapidly emerging economies, companies are now coping with issues like unavailable credit, sluggish capital markets, and collapsing demand.”