A major changing of the guard is underway at Grupo Bradesco, Brazil’s most important financial conglomerate. The bank’s current CEO, Luiz Carlos Trabuco, has announced that he will be taking the reins from the outgoing chairman, Lazaro Brandao. This, in turn, will create a vacancy in the CEO spot. Who will ultimately end up filling that void is a topic of hot speculation among those following the Brazilian financial industry.
Bradesco says goodbye to a legend
One of the biggest stories resulting from the changes, however, is the departure of the bank’s longtime figurehead, Lazaro Brandao. At 93, Brandao is one of the oldest executives in the world. He first came to work at the bank in 1943 and over the course of the next 75 years, established himself as one of the legendary figures in Brazilian business. His leaving marks the end of an era for Bradesco in which the bank went from a one-branch thrift institution in the small town of Marilia, Sao Paulo to becoming one of the most important financial companies in all of Latin America.
Even as Trabuco Cappi, one of the most experienced and proven bankers in the country, is set to take the helm as chairman, many of the bank’s shareholders are nervous about the impending absence of Brandao from the company’s top leadership. Brandao has garnered a level of adulation that is rarely seen outside of the most prominent founders of major corporations. The respect and admiration that he has engendered among Bradesco stakeholders, from the largest shareholder down to the lowest bank teller, has been the product of the enormous success that the bank has experienced under his watch.
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First attaining the role of CEO in 1981, Brandao went on to have one of the most superlative careers of any CEO in the history of Brazilian business. Between 1990 and 1999, he held onto both the position of CEO and the bank’s chairmanship, making him the unquestioned leader of the firm throughout a period of explosive growth. Brandao is largely credited with many of the innovations and strategic decisions that resulted in the bank’s meteoric rise and rapids expansion throughout the 1990s and 2000s, a period in which its stock valuation increased by a factor of approximately 300 times.
But for all the credit that Brandao receives, those who have observed the bank over the last 20 years understand that at least as much credit is due to Luiz Carlos Trabuco Cappi, who was one of the key figures operating behind the scenes throughout the period of the bank’s most impressive success.
As the head of the bank’s financial planning division in the early 1990s, Trabuco Cappi was able to infuse the firm’s balance sheet with a massive influx of new deposits from some of the wealthiest clients in Brazil. This was the direct result of a campaign orchestrated by Trabuco Cappi that was explicitly targeted at acquiring high-value clients. The resulting increase in the bank’s money on deposit allowed it to originate tens of billions of dollars in new loans throughout the 1990s and 2000s. This would prove to be one of the chief causes of the bank’s expansion, and it was the singular efforts of Trabuco Cappi that made it happen.
Trabuco Cappi was also responsible for the 2015 acquisition of HSBC Brazil, the largest transaction in the history of Brazil. This was widely viewed as a tremendous boon to the business, earning Trabuco Cappi the 2015 Isto E Dinheiro Entrepreneur of the Year Award.
Now, as Trabuco Cappi takes over the chairmanship, it is clear that he is the right man to lead his bank into a prosperous future.