Despite some rosy forecasts for economic recovery coming from Wall Street, the government and other sources, chief executive officers leading and investing in information technology companies believe recovery is still far in the future, says Gartner Inc.'s top executive. "I would tell you not to believe what you read and what you hear," Michael D. Fleisher, chairman and CEO of Stamford, Connecticut-based Gartner, told the opening session of the company's Symposium/ITxpo 2002 in San Diego. CEOs he adds, "truly do not believe we are anywhere close to being in a recovery."

Fleisher says a return to optimism about recovery among executives will require a return to earnings growth rates that investors had gotten accustomed to in recent years. "We certainly expect that 2002 will remain a difficult environment on a global basis," Fleisher says.

The environment, he adds, is forcing companies to make painful choices about how to insure short-term survival and long-term success. These, he says should focus on high-value customers, cutting costs and planting seeds for future growth through small, innovative investments.

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