Recently, Luiz Carlos Trabuco, the CEO of Brazilian banking giant Bradesco, announced that he would soon be stepping down from the position that he has held for over eight years. The 67 year old executive is already two years past the statutory age of retirement, set out by the company’s bylaws. He has been operating under a special waiver signed by the chairman of the board as part of a deal that allows Trabuco to see through the completion of the HSBC Brazil acquisition, which took place towards the end of 2015.
A master of finance in the making
Luiz Carlos Trabuco is one of a handful of employees who came up around the same general period within Bradesco, all of whom are now major power players within the world of Brazilian finance. The rapid ascent of the firm throughout the 1980s and 90s gave its promising young executives one of the best opportunities in the history of the country to become key figures at the national level, acquiring power far beyond what many of them ever could have imagined.
Trabuco was certainly one of these people. He came to work at Bradesco after graduating high school in 1969, at the age of just 18. The young Trabuco had aspirations to attend college but lacked the funds necessary to do so. He viewed the job as likely being a temporary fix – a way to save enough money to go to school and pursue a business degree.
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As it happened, Trabuco quickly proved himself to be somewhat of a star employee. He was a quick learner and natural leader. His work habits and capability at his job quickly garnered the attention of his superiors, who were happy to fast-track him through the ranks. By the mid-1970s, he was already in charge of a couple of branches. By the late 70s, he was a regional manager.
All the while, he put himself through night school, eventually earning a bachelor’s degree in business administration as well as a master’s degree in social psychology. These were degrees that he would put to good use throughout his career. By the early 1980s, Trabuco was one of the most polished employees at the bank, with an impressive list of credentials that included his advanced degree and over a decade of upper management experience. By this point, he was an obvious choice for a junior-level executive post.
In 1984, his first crack at running his own business unit materialized. He was tapped to run the Bank’s marketing and public relations department. The unit had previously been run by people who had been promoted above their circle of competence. Trabuco, now steeped in deep knowledge of North American financial operations, was quick to modernize the department. He immediately began making innovative moves, emulating the playbook of successful American financial institutions.
He was able to forge close relationships with local media personalities in all the key markets in which the bank operated. He also began numerous public relations campaigns, such as encouraging Bradesco employees to volunteer at homeless shelters and underwriting massive Christmas charity projects. By the end of the 1980s, test were showing that the bank’s image was among the strongest of any company in the country. Trabuco’s reign was considered a huge success and he was next in line for bigger promotions.
In 1992, he was hit up to run the bank’s financial planning division. The unit had been struggling to turn a profit and was experiencing stagnant growth. Trabuco was again able to apply the lessons of American finance, creating a tiered banking system called Bradesco Prime, which gave the bank’s best clients opulent service. Trabuco instituted the program in a way that allowed the largest clients to receive such complimentaries as first-class airline tickets and stays at five-star hotels. Bradesco Prime customers also had 24/7, on-call personal bankers at their disposal as well as access to separate, luxurious facilities in which they almost never had to wait in line.
Again, this proved to be an enormous success.
Find more about Luiz Carlos Trabuco: https://www.brasil247.com/pt/247/economia/321809/Trabuco-assumirá-presidência-do-conselho-do-Bradesco.htm