Luiz Carlos Trabuco Rises To The Top Of Bradesco, Transforms Company Along The Way

Few people can claim to have a profound impact on the course of major corporations. Outside of founders, companies with more than 10,000 employees are rarely ever able to be profoundly changed, even by their CEOs. But Luiz Carlos Trabuco is an exception. Even long before he rose to the top slot at Bradesco, the largest bank in Brazil by some measures, he was already a major influence on the corporate culture and vision that the company took on. In fact, one might argue that Luiz Carlos Trabuco was already a driving force in the company 30 years before he ever ascended to the wheelhouse of the Brazilian banking behemoth.

Hard work and dedication pay off

Luiz Carlos Trabuco was just 18 when, in 1969, he got his first job. Hired on as a bank teller at what was that time a small local bank, Bradesco would grow at an astounding pace, just as Trabuco would rise through its ranks in lockstep with its expansion. Trabuco quickly proved himself to be a capable employee. By the end of his first year, he was already a shift manager at his branch. Within a decade, he would rise to the level of regional manager for what was by then a quickly expanding regional banking power in the state of Sao Paulo.

Throughout the 70s, Trabuco was able to put himself through school. He eventually got a master’s degree in social psychology. At the same time, he was gaining valuable experience working in all aspects of the bank’s business. By 1984, he was tapped for his first executive role.

Trabuco was appointed to head up the company’s marketing department. With an advanced degree in psychology, Trabuco knew a thing or two about how to overhaul the company’s branding, message and public relations. He immediately fortified the company’s relationship with local media, an area that had long been severely neglected under prior marketing directors.

He was also able to involve Bradesco in local charity and volunteering, establishing a beneficent image for the company and its brand. It was also at this time that Trabuco began marketing the company to a more upscale clientele. Trabuco was well aware of the huge success U.S. retail banks had with attracting high-net-worth clients. Trabuco believed strongly that such a model could be repeated in Brazil, with the rapidly expanding middle and moneyed classes in that country.

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In 1992, after having a great deal of success turning the company’s marketing department around, Trabuco was appointed to the financial planning division. At that time only accounting for around 3 percent of the bank’s total revenues, Trabuco made it his stated goal to boost the division’s earnings significantly.

Keeping in tune with his earlier goals in the marketing department, he did away completely with the one-size-fits-all philosophy that the department had been operating on before. Through some tough conversations and heated meetings with the bank’s top brass, Trabuco eventually managed to convince the higher-ups that the bank’s clients were not all created equally. Trabuco wanted to create a premium service for high-net-worth clients that would be the banking equivalent of a casino’s high-roller suite. Eventually, the executive suite relented and allowed Trabuco to proceed with his experiment in attracting real wealth to Bradesco.

It turned out to be a resounding success. By 2003, the financial planning division had exploded. The previously floundering unit was now accounting for more than 25 percent of the group’s total profits. Trabuco was now widely regarded as a major player in the company.

He was appointed to the helm of the company’s insurance underwriting division, which he then proceeded to dramatically grow. By the time he left, Bradesco Seguros had grown into the largest retail underwriter in the country. By this time, Trabuco was speculated by many to the next in line to take over as CEO of the whole firm.

In 2009, he was, completing his rise from the lowest position in the company to the highest and one of the most powerful people in Brazil.

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