Brazil has four very big banks. Itaú Unibanco, Banco do Brazil, Caixa Econômica Federal, and Banco Brazil. Those banks offer a full range of banking services and products for businesses as well as for consumers. Bradesco is the second largest bank in the group, but Bradesco wasn’t always known by that name. In 1943, Amador Aguiar, the founder of the Marilia-based bank, started doing business under the name Banco Brasileiro Descontos. But the six-member Board of Directors decided to change the name of the bank to Bradesco in 1988. Chairman Lázaro de Mello Brandão thought the name Bradesco was easier for people to remember. Combining Aguiar’s vision into a one-word moniker was the Brazilian way of making the bank more attractive in foreign markets.
Luiz Carlos Trabuco, the current CEO and newly appointed Chairman of the Board, didn’t become president and CEO until 2009, so he didn’t have a major say in the name change. But he stood behind the new name because he was a VP in those days. Trabuco would later become a staunch advocate of the new name in stock markets around the world. Bradesco stock is active on the Madrid, Sao Paulo, and New York Stock Exchange.
Bank historians who study the ups and downs of Brazilian banking say three men are responsible for the unprecedented growth of Bradesco. Amador Aguiar, Lázaro de Mello Brandão, and Luiz Carlos Trabuco are the only men to make it to the top in the Bradesco banking organization. But Trabuco doesn’t like to take credit for the bank’s success, and Lázaro de Mello Brandão doesn’t take the credit either. Both men say the executive team and the more than 105,000 employees play an important role in the bank’s impressive net income year after year. In 2016, Bradesco had a net income of $4.6 billion, and Trabuco expects to beat that figure in 2017.
The Chairman of the Board role is not a job most bankers want. Bankers like to be on the front lines of banking and being the chairman is a backdoor role that often goes unnoticed. But Lázaro de Mello Brandão changed that description over the last 25 years. Brandão was always visible. He instigated the mergers and acquisitions that put Bradesco in rare banking company. But although Brandão was visible most of those years, the man who was the face and leader of the bank operations and strategy was Luiz Carlos Trabuco. No one in Brazil’s banking community will deny the impact Trabuco has on the mission and the values of the bank.
Trabuco is not from the same banking mold as most bankers. He’s not an accountant or a financial analyst by design. He’s a thinker and a student of philosophy and psychology. After graduating from the University of Sao Paulo with a philosophy degree, he went looking for a job. Banco Brasileiro Descontos was the first company that took a chance and hired him in 1969 even though he was not really banking material. But Brandão took him under his banking wing, and the rest is, as they say, is banking history. Trabuco is taking over for Brandão. Luiz is the new chairman, but he is still the president and CEO until a new CEO comes on board. The new CEO will follow the promotion trend in Bradesco according to folha.uol.com.br. Seven Bradesco VPs are on the shortlist. And all of them know how to work with Trabuco.
All the Bradesco employees have a favorite candidate, but Octavio de Lazari, the president of the bank’s successful insurance arm may be the next CEO. Octavio is following in the banking footsteps of Mr. Trabuco. Mr. Trabuco was the president of that division for six years before taking over as CEO.