Sasha Bezuhanova (Bulgarian: Саша Безуханова) is an internationally recognized business executive, activist and philanthropist with significant contribution to the development of Bulgaria's IT industry and a multi-dimensional track record of service to society.
She is the founder and board chairperson of MOVE.BG - civil platform for collaboration in finding sustainable solutions for the state, economy and society via innovation, participation and co-creation.
Before committing herself to that cause in 2013, Sasha had a 20-year business executive career in HP where she took on various management roles. Her last position was Director of Public Sector for the world Growth Markets at Hewlett-Packard. Previously she had managed the Central Eastern Europe Public sector business of the corporation. Before that Sasha was the General Manager of Hewlett-Packard Bulgaria for more than 10 years, positioning the company as the leader in the local ICT market and driving important investment in the country where HP employs today more than 5000 people.
Her long list of business achievements and social development engagements throughout the years involve positioning Bulgaria as an ICT center of global significance, boosting the entrepreneurial culture and women empowerment in her home country Bulgaria and at European level.
Sasha is Chair of the Boards of European Center of Women in Technologies, Bulgarian Center of Women in Technologies, Technical University in Sofia and Bulgarian School of Politics, co-founder and board member of the Initiative for Social Empowerment. She is the initiator of EDIT.BG – open network initiative for digital innovation.
Sasha Bezuhanova was named Digital woman of Europe for 2013 and one of the Top 100 Challengers in New Europe 100 for 2015 and holds many other national and European awards for her contribution to social development.
She founded her own annual Entrepregirl Award for supporting young women to develop their entrepreneurial ideas into business.
Sasha is married with one daughter.
Sasha Bezuhanova was born in Pernik, Bulgaria. She graduated German language high school in Sofia. Bezuhanova went on to study in Technical University in Sofia graduating with Masters in Electronics (1985). She holds also Executive master's degree in International Negotiations and Policy Making from the Graduate Institute in Geneva (2015) and has Executive qualifications from INSEAD and Stanford.
She attended special programs for studying the Irish economic model (Dublin, 2001), the structure of ICT sector in California (Palo Alto, 2002) and European Software Institute (Bilbao, 2003).
Aside from her native language Sasha Bezuhanova speaks English, German and Russian.
The professional career of Sasha Bezuhanova started in 1985 in the Central Institute for Computer Technologies where in 1986 she became Research Associate.
Shortly after the democratic changes in Bulgaria when the country opened up for direct presence of international businesses she was invited by the German medical concern HELLIGE to head their Bulgarian operation. Under her leadership in the period 1990 to 1994 the company played key role in the modernization of the Bulgarian health infrastructure.
Her international business and operational management experience evolved further as General Manager for S&T Bulgaria, the exclusive distributor of HP – a role she took over in 1995.
When HP decided to open up direct operation in Bulgaria in 1997 Bezuhanova was appointed as General Manager. Sasha Bezuhanova has managed Hewlett-Packard's business in Bulgaria for more than 10 years. In that period of time HP's Bulgarian team developed a series of IT infrastructure projects for the country's three biggest telecommunication companies, industrial manufacturers, and state and private finance institutions. Some of these projects have been implemented for the first time in Bulgaria and became reference solutions incorporated in the HP's portfolio. Among them was the implementation of electronic ID for Bulgarian citizens, which ended in August 1999 and was the key to Bulgaria's acceptance in the EU visa-free countries list in 2001. Another flagship project, that enriched the HP's worldwide practice, was the implementation of the Real-time gross settlement system (RTGS) in Macedonia.
Her most important accomplishment at the time was attracting an important investment of HP in Bulgaria where in 2006 started operation HP Global Delivery Centre. Today it employs more than 5000 high-profile engineers and specialists. That strategic project placed the country on the world IT investment map. As a result, Hewlett-Packard has become the largest IT employer in Bulgaria and the Top 5 in the country overall. Hewlett-Packard became also the largest investor and employer in the Bulgarian IT sector.
Sasha Bezuhanova continued her career in HP on international level being appointed in 2008 as Public Sector Director for Central Eastern Europe. She manages the corporation’ government business in 27 countries including Russia, New Europe, Western Balkans and Central Asia bringing in an important strategic dimension and a holistic approach to this market segment.
In 2012 Bezuhanova was appointed as Director Public Sector and Education for HP Growth Markets – a region including 67 countries around the world. As part of her business development responsibilities she coordinated the company's relations with the EU, WB and UN.
In 2013 when it became very critical in Bulgaria and the country was shaken by protests against the oligarchic establishment figures, Sasha Bezuhanova decided to leave her career and to devote herself to the cause of positive change in Bulgaria. She founded the non-partisan organization MOVE.BG – a platform for collaboration in finding sustainable solutions for the state, economy and society via innovation, participation and co-creation. MOVE.BG is affirming the culture of constructive dialog, participating leadership, democratic principles and European path of Bulgaria. Some of the programs are ‘Electoral reform’, ‘Media pluralism’, ‘Law and order in 5 steps’, "You move Europe’, ‘Solutions for Bulgaria: Digital’, ‘Solution for Bulgaria: Economics’ and the online platform ‘My Bulgarian History‘. In 2016 upon initiative of Sasha Bezuhanova MOVE.BG together with key organizations, hubs and companies developing digital knowledge and innovative business in Bulgaria, founded EDIT.bg (Economic Development via Innovation and Technologies) – open network for digital development and innovation in Bulgaria. .
Alongside with MOVE.BG over the years Sasha Bezuhanova is actively engaged in the economic and social development of Bulgaria. She is part of many organizations and initiatives which work for positioning Bulgaria as ICT center of global significance, for boosting the entrepreneurial culture and women empowerment in her home country Bulgaria and at European level.
As a President of Bulgarian International Business Association (BIBA) (2002-2006) she initiates in 2003 the development of the National ICT Competitiveness Strategy - a program that became a basis for series of initiative in the ICT sector in Bulgaria. She works actively for attracting foreign investments in the sector as also on policy recommendation level in her capacity of chairperson of the Bulgarian ICT Cluster (2005 – 2006), founding Chairperson and a member of Consultancy Committee of the Confederation of Industrialists and Employers in Bulgaria (CEIBG) (2007 - 2010) and member of consultative body to Ministry of Economy for 3S strategy of Bulgaria (2011–2013).
As a chairperson of the board of Junior Achievement Bulgaria (1999 – 2014) Sasha Bezuhanova worked for developing entrepreneurial and leadership skills among young people. She contributes actively to another cause - the increase of women's leadership and professional participation in the ICT sector and science. She is a co-founder and chairperson of the Advisory Council of the European Centre of Women in Technology (ECWT) (2008 – at present). In 2012 upon her initiative was founded the Bulgarian Centre of Women in Technology (BCWT) for fulfilling this mission in Bulgaria. In 2013 she founded her own yearly Entrepregirl Award for supporting young women to develop their entrepreneurial ideas into business.
Sasha is engaged also with development of next generation political and civil leaders as Chairperson of School of Politics. She is also a co-founder and board member of the Initiative for Social Empowerment – organization that aims to enable vulnerable groups of women and youth in Europe.Chair of the Trustee board of Technical University in Sofia (2009–present)·
Chair of the High-level Advisory Council of the European Centre of Women in Technology (ECWT) (2008–present)
Co-founder and chair of the Bulgarian Centre of Women in Technology (BCWT) (2012–present)
Member of the Honorary board of the Duke of Edinburgh's International Award (2014–present)
Co-founder and board member of the Initiative for Social Empowerment (ISE) (2015–present)
Member of the board of "Bulgarian Charities Aid Foundation" BCAUSE (2011–present)
Founding chair and currently board member of the Bulgarian ICT Cluster (2005–present)
Chair of the board of Junior Achievement Bulgaria (1999 – 2014)
Member of the board of the American University
Member of the Advisory board to the Minister of Education (2009 – 2010)
Member of the board of Open Society Foundation (2004–2010)
Member of the Management board of Sirma Group (2015–present)
Chair and vice-chair of the Confederation of Employers and Industrials in Bulgaria (CEIBG) (2007–2010),
President of the Bulgarian International Business Association (BIBA) (2002–2006)
For her achievements and contribution to the public development Sasha Bezuhanova has won many prestigious awards and honours:New Europe 100 Challenger for 2015
Digital Woman of Europe 2013 Award
#4 Most Influential Woman in Bulgaria (Top 100) for 2011.
International award for women leaders "LeaderShe" in 2010
JA-YE (Junior Achievement-Young Enterprise Europe) "Leadership Award" for 2009
Business Face of Bulgaria Award for 2006, Financial Times
HP Worldwide Winners club (2006)
The Highest Reputation and Achievement in the Area of Corporate Management in Bulgaria (2003)
IT Manager of the year Award (2002; 2001; 1996), IDG Bulgaria
Business lady of the decade (1991–1999), IDG Bulgaria
Hewlett-Packard European Achievers Club (1999)
Best Young Manager in Bulgaria (1997), Evrika foundation
Best Sales Manager for East Central Europe (1993), HELLIGE
In 2009, Sasha Bezuhanova was awarded "Order of the Star of Italian Solidarity" - one of the highest orders in Italy, for her exclusive contribution to the development of bilateral economic relations between Bulgaria and Italy.
Sasha Bezuhanova is the Honorary Consul of Grand Duchy of Luxembourg for Bulgaria.