Major shakeups have been announced in the executive suite of Bradesco, one of Brazil’s largest and most important banking conglomerates. The current CEO, Luis Carlos Trabuco, has stated that he will leave his current position by March of 2018 to take over the soon-to-be-vacant slot of chairman of the board, which is being vacated by Lazaro Brandao, one of the most celebrated figures in the bank’s history. Trabuco must name his replacement by March of 2018, a process that he has stated will be carefully conducted and will not be rushed.
A legend leaves The Stage
Lazaro Brandao, at 91, is the chairman of the board for Grupo Bradesco and is one of the oldest actively serving chair persons in the world. Brandao has become a legend not just within Bradesco itself but all across the Brazilian financial world. The nonagenarian banker started working at the firm in 1943, when he was just 16 years old. That was the first full year that the bank – at that time a one-branch thrift institution in a small town – was in operation. Brandao quickly proved himself to be a capable employee and began rising through the ranks, just as the firm itself was rising to a position of regional and then national import. By 1981, Brandao had ascended all the way to CEO, a position that he held until 1999. Between 1990 and 1999, he was simultaneously both CEO and chairman of the board, the only time in the bank’s history that a single person has held both positions on more than a temporary basis.
But it isn’t Brandao’s credentials that has won him the ironclad admiration of shareholders, employees and board members alike. It has been the phenomenal growth and success of the bank, almost all of which occurred under his watch.
In 1981, Bradesco was a growing but still small regional player in a few cities around Sao Paulo state. By 2009, the bank was the largest financial institution in Brazil, having seen an explosion in its stock price of more than 300 times. It was this level of leadership and vision that has won Brandao the confidence of shareholders and board members and that, even as he approaches 92 years old, has given a number of key figures in the bank serious pause about his departure. However, Brandao has stated that it is finally time for him to step down, preferring to spend more time with his family and give younger managerial talent a chance to step into new roles and ascend through the ranks.
Even though some have expressed concerns as to whether or not Luiz Carlos Trabuco will be able to fill the large void left by the departure of Brandao, the outgoing chairman himself has stated that Trabuco has all of the right characteristics to fulfill his role as chairman well. Brandao says that Trabuco will be able to continue the long string of successes both Trabuco and Brandao have been able to steer the bank into.
Trabuco himself is no slouch. After having spent his entire career with the bank, the man who started working at Bradesco as a bank teller and rose all the way to CEO has quite a few impressive accomplishments of his own. He almost single-handedly built the bank’s enormously profitable financial planning division from scratch. He was also able to more than double the business of the already thriving insurance underwriting division, making Bradesco the single largest underwriter of retail insurance policies in the country.
It is clear that Trabuco, who also orchestrated the 2015 acquisition of HSBC Brazil, is a good bet for Bradesco’s future.
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