For nearly 10 years, Luiz Carlos Trabuco has led the firm Bradesco, one of the largest banks in Brazil. He was able to rise through the ranks, from the absolute bottom of the corporate ladder, climbing all the way to the top. Now, Luiz Carlos Trabuco will take over as the chairman of the board of Bradesco, replacing long-time chairman Lazaro Brandao.
A long climb to the top
Luiz Carlos Trabuco first came to work at Bradesco at the age of just 18. In 1969, the high school graduate was looking for his first job. He had aspirations to attend college but did not have enough money to make it happen right away.
He was surprised when he was quickly hired after his first interview with Bradesco, which was then a small bank in the city of Marilia, Sao Paulo, with just a few branches. Over the next decade, Trabuco worked hard and proved himself to his superiors. He slowly rose through the ranks, first being promoted to shift manager, then branch manager and eventually reaching the position of regional manager.
Throughout the decade of the 70s, the hard-working young banker was able to put himself through college by attending night school, all while sometimes working as much as 60 hours per week with the bank. By the end of the 1970s, he had obtained a degree in business management as well as a master’s degree in social psychology. By 1984, he was the first in line for a number of executive vacancies that had opened up at the bank.
Impressed by Trabuco’s work ethic and ability as a manager, the CEO, Lazaro Brandao, appointed Trabuco to head up the bank’s marketing department. Throughout the 80s, he made great strides in the bank’s marketing strategy and its effectiveness. By the end of the decade, Trabuco had vastly improved the bank’s public image and had sent it on a modern and highly effective marketing campaign that was winning new customers over in rapid succession.
Then, in 1992, Trabuco was appointed to head up the bank’s struggling financial planning division. The nascent unit had been mostly unprofitable and was struggling under outmoded business models. Trabuco immediately began a long period of innovation and a rapid change to the fundamental business model. This would ultimately prove to have a profound effect not just on the financial planning division, but also on the bank as a whole.
Trabuco, having been steeped in modern financial theory and a close student of the large and successful North American banking industry, decided that the first thing he would implement was a tiered banking services product. Prior to Trabuco’s leadership, the bank had adopted a one-size-fits-all banking philosophy, where the least profitable customer of the bank was treated identically and provided the same level of services as a client with an eight-digit net worth.
Trabuco created a new banking system called Bradesco Prime. Geared towards the high-net-worth client market, the new banking model offered separate, luxury facilities for high-net-worth clients as well as personalized, 24/7 on-call banking services. He also began offering casino-style comps, such as airline tickets to exotic places and complimentary five-star hotel stays.
The plan proved to be an enormous success. Within just a few years, Bradesco had virtually cornered the market on high-net-worth clients, vastly increasing the banks total capital and setting the stage for the tremendous growth that would take place throughout the 90s and 2000s.
Today, Trabuco is widely regarded as one of the most influential figures in the history of the bank. As he transitions to the position of chairman, stakeholders can rest assured that the board is in good hands.