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9Nov/17Off

Can Luiz Carlos Trabuco Fill The Shoes Of Lazaro Brandao?

Luiz Carlos Trabuco, the currently acting CEO of Grupo Bradesco, has announced that he will soon assume the position of chairman of the board of directors. Leaving is Lazaro Brandao, 91, who is one of the oldest currently serving chair people in the world. Brandao has been with the firm since 1943, and many view him to be an indispensable asset to the bank. But he has stated that his decision to finally leave the chairmanship came because he wants to spend more time with his family and allow for younger executive talent to climb up through the corporation's ranks.

Can Trabuco wield the reins with the same skill as Brandao?

Luiz Carlos Trabuco, much like his boss, has been a lifelong employee of Bradesco. Being hired on with the firm in 1969, at the age of 18, Trabuco was fresh out of high school, with little experience, when he first came to work for the bank.

But over the ensuing decades, he would prove himself as a superlatively capable employee, reaching his first executive position in 1984. By that time, Trabuco had put himself through college, attaining a bachelor's degree in business administration as well as a master's degree in psychology.

He would put both of his degrees to good use, modernizing every department that he presided over and becoming a driving force in the shaping of the modern Bradesco business model.

In 1992, Trabuco was put in charge of the bank's financial planning division, which, at the time, was a flagging unit that accounted for less than 2 percent of the firm's total revenues. Trabuco immediately began innovating, creating a tiered customer service program that saw the introduction of luxury facilities and high-level personal banking services for the firm's wealthiest clients. After just a few years, the high-net-worth financial advisory business had taken off, adding ten of millions in capital to Bradesco's balance sheets. Trabuco was proving to be a highly valuable asset to his employer.

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He was again promoted to the head of the bank's insurance unit. There, he again was able to substantially increase revenues, boosting the total income of the division by more than two times. By the time Trabuco was promoted to CEO in 2009, Bradesco Seguros had become the largest underwriter of retail insurance policies in the country.

But Trabuco's magic touch could not save the bank from serious stagnation and decline throughout the 2010s. Having inherited an institution buffeted by the ill winds of a near economic depression across Brazil, between 2009 and 2015, Bradesco's stock lost more than 80 percent of its value. But then Trabuco was able to pull off one of the greatest coups in Brazilian business history.

In 2015, he announced that Bradesco would acquire HSBC Brazil for $5.2 billion, in an all-cash deal. Upon closing the deal, Bradesco was instantly rocketed to the undisputed number-one position across many market segments in Brazilian finance. The stock price immediately began a long rally that hasn't abated to this day. Today, the stock is trading at near record highs and Trabuco is widely regarded as having been an overall successful CEO.

However, there are still those shareholders who remember the lean years of Trabuco's reign with a touch of anxiety. Brandao believes in Trabuco and has explicitly said that he is the only man in the world who could successfully be passed the torch that Brandao wielded for so long.

It is clear enough that little is likely to change, at least as far as high-level strategy goes. Trabuco is likely to continue the broad strategy that both he and Brandao have been successfully implementing for more than 40 years.

Read more: Trabuco will assume the presidency of Bradesco's board; bank to appoint new chief executive in March

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