The position of CEO of Bradesco, one of Brazil’s largest and most important banks, will soon be up for grabs. However, the current CEO, Luiz Carlos Trabuco, who will soon take over as chairman of the board of directors, will be tasked with naming his own replacement. While there is much speculation as to who he will name, he has until March 1 of 2018 to finalize his selection, a task that he has assured investors and the press that he will take his time in completing .
The End of a Golden Era
The cause for Trabuco’s stepping down and taking up the chairmanship is both that he has now exceeded, by some time, the mandatory retirement age of 65 from the CEO position and that his boss, legendary Brazilian banker Lazaro Brandao, has decided to finally step down as chairman.
Brandao has reached legendary status among many in the Brazilian banking industry. The 91 year old financier has been with Bradesco since the age of 16, joining the bank in 1943, the first full year of its operation. He has acted in an executive capacity for the bank since 1981, the year in which he was named CEO. Between 1990 and 1999, he acted as both CEO and chairman simultaneously, the only time in the bank’s history that both positions have been held by the same person on more than a temporary basis.
But, perhaps, most importantly, the departure of Brandao represents the end of a golden era for Bradesco. For many, Brandao himself is almost inseparable from the firm. He is, to some, its very soul. No one else has been with the bank anywhere near as long as Brandao, who has literally seen it grow from a one-branch thrift lender into a national powerhouse of Brazilian banking, being the largest bank in the country across many different measures today.
In fact, the only other employee of the bank who comes close to Brandao’s impressive tenure is Luiz Carlos Trabuco himself, the current CEO of the bank. Trabuco started working with the firm in 1969, at the age of 18. Like Brandao, he rose through the ranks the old fashioned way – through hard work, determination and talent.
By 1984, Trabuco had secured his first executive role with the bank, working as head of the marketing and PR department. By this time, Trabuco had gotten a master’s degree in social psychology and a bachelor’s in business administration. Over the next 25 years, he set about modernizing the bank. He was the first to implement various reforms, bringing the bank’s business model much closer to that seen by its highly successful North American counterparts like Bank of America and Wells Fargo.
Trabuco was the first one to implement a tiered banking product, concentrating on creating a luxury services brand for high-net-worth clients. This succeeded in attracting a great deal of capital to the bank. By the time Trabuco was promoted to the head of the insurance division, the financial planning division, which he had led since 1992, was among the most profitable units in the corporation.
Trabuco again proved to be hugely adept at running the insurance division, more than doubling revenues and converting Bradesco Seguros into the largest retail underwriter in the country.
But Trabuco’s tenure as CEO proved spottier than his past performances. Although most of the decline in the stock price that occurred under his watch was the simple consequence of inheriting a bank in an untenable macroeconomic situation, many shareholders still blamed him for weak performance.
But Lazaro Brandao himself has assured investors that, going forward, there is no better man to chair the Bradesco Board of Directors than Luiz Carlos Trabuco.
Visit folha.uol.com.br for more information about Luiz Carlos Trabuco.