In 2015, Bradesco chairman Luiz Carlos Trabuco made Brazilian business history when he completed the acquisition of HSBC Brazil for $5.2 billion in cash. This was the largest single acquisition in Brazilian history, and it immediately redeemed Trabuco in the eyes of shareholders.
Luiz Carlos Trabuco first came to work with Bradesco in 1969, at the age of just 18. At the time he was hired on as a bank teller, Bradesco was the first job he had ever gotten. Without a college degree, he was able to begin moving up the ranks of the company.
By the end of the 1970s, Trabuco had managed to get both a bachelor’s degree in business administration as well as a master’s degree in social psychology. He was quickly moving up the ranks, eventually ending up as a regional manager in the quickly expanding bank.
By 1984, Trabuco was promoted to his first executive role. He was put in charge of the company’s marketing department. There, he began making significant changes to the way that Bradesco approached public relations, forging strong relationships with local media personalities in the markets in which the bank was operating. He also began a sophisticated television advertising campaign, which was directed at the country’s rapidly expanding middle class. By the late 1980s, it had become apparent that these efforts were paying off in spades. Bradesco’s work was noticed by his higher ups and, in 1992, he was again promoted.
This time, Trabuco would head up the struggling financial planning division. It was as head of this unit that the skilled banker began making lasting contributions to the way in which Bradesco operates. At the time, the bank viewed its mission as being a primarily egalitarian one. The bank explicitly held the philosophy that no one customer should be treated any differently or receive different levels of service than another. But Trabuco, steeped in the academics of scientific management techniques, knew that this was an old fashion, quaint model that would not maximize the returns for the bank.
He quickly moved to create a tiered banking model, with the highest level customers receiving luxuriant services. Borrowing from the playbook of casinos and successful North American wealth management firms, Trabuco offered high-net-worth clients everything from separate, luxury facilities all the way to first-class plane tickets and complimentary stays at five-star Caribbean resorts. This targeted approach to wealth management quickly proved to be a resounding success. Within just a few years, the financial planning division had increased its revenues by a factor of nearly ten, and it was now accounting for over 30 percent of the group’s total profits. Again, Trabuco had earned the respect and admiration of his bosses. He was tapped for another promotion.
This time, Trabuco was appointed to the head of the Bradesco group’s insurance underwriting division. Just as he had with the other units he commanded, Trabuco was able to rapidly improve the operations of the insurance division, more than doubling its underwriting output and making it one of the most profitable business lines for the group. Within a few years, Trabuco was able to turn Bradesco Seguors into the single largest underwriter of retail insurance policies in the country.
Now, nearing the age of 60 and with 40 years in with the firm, Trabuco was a prime candidate to replace the outgoing CEO, Mario Cypriano. In 2009, it was announced that Trabuco would become the next CEO.
While his tenure as CEO has not been as decisively successful as other positions he has held, Trabuco is regarded by many as being the most qualified candidate for the job that he will assume next, that of chairman of the board.
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