At work with Sylvie Ouziel

Efma feature

03 December 2018

Sylvie Ouziel, CEO at Allianz Global Assistance, provides Efma's Boris Plantier an overview of her average working day and outlines the benefits of not having an office.

Please tell us a little about your background

I was an engineer by training. I started with an internship at Rothschild where I was surrounded by engineers who wished they were working for ‘the real industry’! So I left and joined Andersen Consulting which was really where the action was – it was at the cusp of innovation, but didn’t require me to specialize in a specific industry or company. I asked to do ‘real industrial stuff’ so I ended up working in aerospace, automotive, pharmaceuticals and healthcare for 20 years at Andersen Consulting which became Accenture. I then joined Allianz, a client of mine, seven years ago and ran the Allianz IT and Operations shared services company for four years. I currently run the global Assistance business of Allianz and also Allianz partners for Asia Pacific (providing B2B2C a blend of services and insurance, high tech and high touch, to four ecosystems – motor and mobility, travel, health and connected life).

What does your workplace look like?

I do not have an office and never had one. I travel between the various offices of Allianz Partners around the globe and, more importantly, to our clients’ and business partners’ places.

Could you describe your usual working day?

A typical day involves visiting clients, discussing new business opportunities, reviewing the performance of current business and discussing ways to improve, working on new offers and new delivery models.

What is your favorite food?

With no doubt, it’s cheese... I am a bit French at the end of the day!

What do you do when you need a break from work?

Diving or skiing. Such a zen way to free up your mind in both cases.

How do you build a successful team?

The key is to ensure it is diverse and everybody takes the time and makes the effort to understand what they may consider to be the ‘weird’ opinions of others!

There is a saying that we learn more from failure than success. Tell me about one of your failures and what you have learnt from it.

Success usually doesn’t make you smarter or wiser, only failures do... I would not mention one specific big failure, but I permanently analyze what could have gone better and what are the root causes of the cases where we have poor performances.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to succeed in financial services?

Be very aware of regulations and compliance and really boil them down to what matters: are we acting in a fair way and in the best interest of our customers? Would we be comfortable transparently explaining it on any stage?

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Keywords : Talent management

Geography : France