Recently, major shifts have been announced in the upper management of Grupo Bradesco, one of the most important financial conglomerates in Brazil. The bank has announced that its longtime chairman, Lazaro Brandao, will be stepping aside. This marks the end of a 75-year career, making Brandao one of the longest-serving employees in the history of Brazilian business.
Stepping into his place will be the bank’s 67-year-old current CEO, Luiz Carlos Trabuco. Trabuco is no banking newbie himself. Having been with the firm since 1969, Trabuco has spent his entire career with the bank, moving up from the position of bank teller all the way to what is, arguably, the most important job in all of Brazilian finance. He graduated from University of Sao Paolo.
Despite Trabuco’s vast experience and proven track record of getting the kind of results that most shareholders can only dream of in an executive, such is the admiration and loyalty that Brandao commands that many of the company’s stakeholders are uneasy about his departure. Brandao first came to work at the bank while World War II was still raging across the globe. Like Trabuco, he started his career as a lowly bank teller, all the way back in 1943. Over the next 75 years, Brandao would become an indispensable asset to the bank, gaining levels of respect and loyalty usually only reserved for the most revered corporate founders, like Sam Walton or Warren Buffett.
And this reverence is not without good cause. After taking over as the bank’s second CEO in 1981, Brandao began instituting policies that would lead the bank from a relatively small regional concern throughout the state of Sao Paulo on to become one of the most important financial institutions in all of Latin America.
Between 1990 and 1999, Brandao occupied both the position of CEO and that of chairman, the only time in the history of the bank that one man has occupied both posts on more than a temporary basis. Brandao has also held onto the chairmanship for the last 27 years, making him, by far, the longest-serving chairman in the bank’s history.
Between 1990 and 2009, he oversaw an increase in valuation of the company’s stock price of more than 300 times. This incredible rise in the value of the company was buttressed by the massive expansion of its operations. When he took over in 1981, Bradesco had just a few branches. By 2018, the bank had more than 5,000 branches.
But while Brandao often receives the lion’s share of the credit for the spectacular rise of the bank that occurred under his watch, Luiz Carlos Trabuco was one of the unsung heroes on the ground, making big things happen behind the scenes. One example of the way in which Trabuco singularly contributed to the bank’s explosive growth throughout the decade of the 90s was his creation of Bradesco Prime, a banking service for high-net-worth clients that was designed to attract the thousands of newly minted millionaires that Brazil’s booming 90s economy had produced.
Bradesco Prime turned out to be an enormous success. Within a span of just a few years in the mid-1990s, the bank was able to attract billions of dollars in new deposits to its balance sheet. This allowed Bradesco to originate tens of billions of dollars in new loans throughout the 90s and early 2000s, providing one of the key elements necessary for the explosive growth that the bank experienced.
Now, Trabuco, the man whose many accomplishments with the bank have not always been fully appreciated, will get a chance to strut his stuff as the supreme strategic leader of the bank. If the past is any guide, Bradesco will be in good hands.
Find more about Luiz Carlos Trabuco Cappi: http://economia.estadao.com.br/blogs/coluna-do-broad/bradesco-deve-anunciar-sucessor-de-trabuco-antes-do-carnaval/