Lazaro Brandao Steps Down, Names Luiz Carlos Trabuco As Successor

Lazaro Brandao is one of Brazil’s most famous and admired financiers. Over a career that has spanned more than 75 years, all of which Brandao has spent at Grupo Bradesco, the inveterate banker has gone from teller all the way to chairman of the board. Brandao is the only person to simultaneously hold both the positions of CEO and chairman of the board over a long period. He is also widely regarded as personally responsible for much of the banks incredible success and growth.

Well past retirement age, Brandao’s departure still makes some nervous

In fact, so inextricably linked have been the fate of Bradesco to that of Brandao that many investors have voiced extreme concern at his departure, even as the nonagenarian banker rapidly approaches his 92nd birthday. But Brandao is quick to reassure concerned shareholders and board members that his replacement, Luiz Carlos Trabuco, is as good a man as any to fill the job. In fact, Brandao says, Trabuco may be the single best person anywhere on Earth to become the next chairman of the board.

Similar stories, different eras

Although Trabuco and Brandao have many similarities in their stories, the two came up through the ranks in different eras. Brandao first came to work at Bradesco at the age of just 16, in 1943. That year marked the first full year of operation for a bank that was started as just a one-branch thrift institution in the town of Marilia, in Sao Paulo state.

Read more: Lázaro Brandão será substituído por Trabuco no conselho do Bradesco

Brandao quickly proved himself to be an able employee, being granted more responsibilities and beginning his rise through the ranks. By 1981, he had reached all the way to the top of the hierarchy, being named CEO. Over the next 36 years, Brandao would hold the positions of both CEO and chairman of the board, simultaneously holding both positions between 1990 and 1999. He would also go on to oversee the most spectacular period of growth not only in the history of Bradesco but in the entire history of Brazilian business.

Trabuco, on the other hand, began working at the bank as a teller in 1969, 26 years after Brandao had first been hired. While Brandao came up through the ranks during the heady days of few regulations and big risks, by the time Trabuco was climbing the corporate ladder, the game had significantly changed. In fact, Trabuco became a major force for modernization within the bank. Although Brandao rightly receives much credit for his role in transforming Bradesco into a national player in Brazil, Trabuco may have been the more influential of the two men on the corporate philosophy and general shape of the business.

Just one example of this is Trabuco’s transformation of the financial planning division. When he was appointed its president, in 1992, the unit was struggling. Through implementation of a program to attract high-net-worth clients, Trabuco was able to grow the unit into one of the most successful business lines in the company, accounting for nearly one third of all revenues. Trabuco enjoyed similar successes as president of the insurance division.

All this adds up to a situation where, while Trabuco hasn’t received the same kind of credit and widespread admiration as Brandao, he is certainly deserving of recognition for his accomplishments and has been a productive and capable asset for Bradesco. There is little question that he will be able to capably lead the bank into the future. Even if some shareholders are not 100 percent satisfied that Trabuco is the best man for the job, they are almost certain to be reassured as the bank moves ahead.

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