Luiz Carlos Trabuco has recently announced that after 9 years at the helm of the largest bank in Brazil, he will be stepping down from the position of CEO. But he will not be straying far. Trabuco will be replacing the outgoing chairman of the board of directors, Lazaro Brandao. This means that he will be leaving the daily tasks of running the business at the nuts-and-bolts level to his successor. But Trabuco will still very much be an influence on the broad strategic direction in which his bank embarks over the next 10 to 20 years.
Trabuco has been with the bank for nearly 50 years. After being hired as a walk-in applicant in 1969, he has spent his entire career with the firm, rising from the lowest positions at the bank to become one of its most celebrated CEOs.
But for as long as Trabuco’s tenure at the company has been, the man he is replacing makes him look wet around the ears by comparison. Lazaro Brandao is one of the oldest currently serving chairpersons in the world today. He has been working at the bank an amazing 75 years, first coming to work at the firm all the way back in 1943, when World War II was still raging across the globe and when many of the people that he has directed as chairman were not yet born.
As a result of Brandao’s long tenure in executive roles at the bank, there are many shareholders who are less than 100 percent enthusiastic about his departure. Even as the veteran financier approaches his 93rd birthday, there are many who would prefer to see him stay on for another 5 or even 10 years. And even though this feeling may seem wholly unreasonable to outsiders, especially considering that Trabuco is one of the most objectively skilled executives the bank has ever known, once Brandao’s career with the firm is closely examined, the mystery evaporates as to why stakeholders would prefer him to stay.
First being appointed CEO in 1981, Brandao would go on to hold various executive positions with the firm for the next 36 years. This included being appointed to the chairmanship in 1990, a position that he has held for the last 27 years. It was throughout the period of his leadership that Bradesco went from being a small regional concern throughout the state of Sao Paulo to becoming the unquestioned heavyweight champ of the Brazilian banking sector. Many of the people who have made a great deal of money with the bank during the period of Brandao’s leadership are the ones least thrilled by his impending exit. After all, between 1990 and 2009, the bank’s share price increased by a factor of more than 300 times.
However, many of these people have not fully taken into account the enormous role that Trabuco himself played in the ascent of the bank to the high finance stratosphere. Throughout his tenure as a leader of various divisions of the firm, Trabuco was able to make sweeping changes, many of which created totally dominant business products and units.
One example of Trabuco’s visionary leadership leading directly to Bradesco cornering an entire market was the changes that he made while heading up the bank’s financial planning division. Trabuco began consciously recruiting the country’s wealthiest clients through various incentives. His strategy eventually resulted in the bank’s balance sheet swelling by billions of dollars, a seminal event in Bradesco’s rise from regional bank to international powerhouse.
As Trabuco takes the helm of the board of directors, it will be a good bet that his knack for high-level competition will continue filling the bank’s sails.