Sirma Boshnakova: Walking the Talk

“Love what you do and the rest will follow,” says Sirma Boshnakova, summing up her outlook on life and the driving force behind her career. The  recently appointed Allianz SE Board Member is already well known in Allianz as the champion of customer centricity and a leader with a strong strategic vision and an inclusive and straightforward leadership style.

Upon meeting Sirma, one instantly picks up on her positivity and a sense of humor, but also her groundedness and a strong set of values rooted in integrity and authenticity, something she attributes to her parents and her upbringing. Roots are important, says Sirma, because they anchor you and provide a foundation for what’s to come. 

Headshot of Sirma Boshnakova, who was recently appointed to the Allianz Board of Management
Sirma Boshnakova

Sirma’s path began in Bulgaria, in a family centered around people and stories. Her father, a prominent journalist, and her mother, a psychologist, taught Sirma and her older sister the value of kindness and hard work: “If it’s worth being done, then it should be done right and with heart,” says Sirma. 

Humbleness and respect toward different cultures and viewpoints were important to her parents and are reflected in the way Sirma approaches work and life in general. Expanding one’s own horizons may have begun in Bulgaria, but continued in Russia, when Sirma enrolled the Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO), where she obtained her Master’s and PhD in Economics and International Relations, which opened up the door to her first career step—a consultant position at the Boston Consulting Group (BCG). 

Her first career steps quickly unveiled her natural propensity toward strategic thinking and outcomes-based performance that focuses on building strong teams who can propel the business forward. 

Through the years, her career path in the pharmaceutical and insurance industry took her from Moscow to Munich to Paris and taught her how to strengthen and reinvent businesses by restructuring operations and finance, modernizing sales and marketing, and setting up new distribution channels.

In 2015, an opportunity to join Allianz presented itself and she joined the company as the Head of Business Division for Western and Southern Europe, where she led the regions’ transformational efforts. 

Then, in 2019, she became the CEO of Allianz Partners, where she joined a community of more than 21,000 employees located across 75 countries. This position was set to mark a whole new chapter in her career.

She understood that the business was facing a crucial need for transformation, or better yet, reinvention. A deep cultural, operational, and strategic change was required to secure sustainable growth.

For Sirma, the best way to go about this change journey was to transform the challenges into opportunities. Soon, a new vision was created for Allianz Partners, one rooted in the idea of simplicity: a digital combination of products and services designed to make people’s lives easier, simpler, and safer. 

The road to success also meant creating a development program that recognizes new talents and sets them on a journey of becoming the next generation of leaders. Faithful to her vision, she put a strong emphasis on simplicity and mutual team support. Open and direct conversations, commonly called FeelGood Chats,  became her signature format in connecting with the employees. Looking back, she refers to this chapter of her career as the most lively, but also the most challenging.  

Support goes in many directions, but it also comes from many directions. Parallel to her career, Sirma built her own family and raised two children. She keeps her children and her parents close, making it a three-generational family that relies on each other.

Always seeking balance in everything she does, she took a year off to take care of her family, which was the right thing to do at the right time, she says. She strongly believes that no parent should be punished for the time spent with their children.

As for work-life balance, she practices yoga daily because it gives her a sense of calm, balance, concentration, and a peace of mind. 

When asked about her Board position at Allianz SE, she mentions how humbled and excited she is about participating in Allianz’s next chapter because “despite its scale, Allianz never loses its heart.”

The Allianz Group is one of the world's leading insurers and asset managers with around 125 million* private and corporate customers in nearly 70 countries. Allianz customers benefit from a broad range of personal and corporate insurance services, ranging from property, life and health insurance to assistance services to credit insurance and global business insurance. Allianz is one of the world’s largest investors, managing around 746 billion euros** on behalf of its insurance customers. Furthermore, our asset managers PIMCO and Allianz Global Investors manage about 1.8 trillion euros** of third-party assets. Thanks to our systematic integration of ecological and social criteria in our business processes and investment decisions, we are among the leaders in the insurance industry in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index. In 2023, over 157,000 employees achieved total business volume of 161.7 billion euros and an operating profit of 14.7 billion euros for the group.
* Including non-consolidated entities with Allianz customers.
** As of March 31, 2024.
Gesa Walter
Allianz SE
As with all content published on this site, these statements are subject to our cautionary note regarding forward-looking statements:

Further information

Leadership change at Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty SE and Allianz Commercial

Petros Papanikolaou will succeed Joachim Müller as CEO of Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty SE with effect from January 1, 2024, with additional responsibility for leading Allianz Commercial globally.  

Allianz SE Announces Updates to its Board of Management

Oliver Bäte’s mandate as Chairman of the Board of Management of Allianz SE has been renewed through the Annual Shareholders Meeting 2028. / The mandate of Andreas Wimmer has been renewed through September 30, 2029. / Claire-Marie Coste-Lepoutre has been appointed as Member of the Board of Management and Chief Financial Officer effective January 1, 2024. / Giulio Terzariol to be granted a release from his mandate as of December 31, 2023 so that he may pursue a career opportunity outside of Allianz.

Allianz SE Supervisory Board Extends Mandates for Barbara Karuth-Zelle and Christopher Townsend through 2028

The Supervisory Board of Allianz SE announced today that it has extended the mandates of Allianz SE Board Members Barbara Karuth-Zelle, Group Chief Operating Officer, and Christopher Townsend, responsible for Global Insurance Lines, Global Commercial Insurance, Reinsurance, Anglo Markets, Iberia & Latin America, Middle East and Africa.