Luiz Carlos Trabuco, the current CEO of Brazil’s second-largest banking operation, Bradesco, was born in the then-small town of Marilia, in the Brazilian state of Sao Paulo. He did well in school, showing an early knack for learning new concepts. He grew up among the Brazilian working class, not rich but not poor either, in a country wracked by areas of extreme poverty. But by the age of 18, he did not have sufficient money to attend college. This prompted him to begin searching for his first full-time job.
After searching for a few weeks, he was eventually hired by a small bank called Bradesco. At that time, the bank had just a few branches located throughout the city of Marilia. Over the course of his first year, Trabuco demonstrated his strong work ethic and ability to quickly pick up on the tasks necessary to do his job well. Starting off as bank teller, he was quickly given more responsibilities. By the end of his first year, he was a branch shift manager.
In the following decades, Trabuco would slowly climb through the ranks of Bradesco. At the same time, Bradesco itself began slowly climbing through the ranks of the Brazilian banking industry. At first, expanding locally throughout the city of Marilia, acquiring more branches and aggressively recruiting new customers. By the mid-1970s, the bank was a major regional player throughout the state of Sao Paulo.
Trabuco was, likewise, improving his own lot. He began attending night classes and eventually was able to get a master’s degree in social psychology from the University of Sao Paulo. In 1984, he was given a shot at his first executive role. He was put in charge of the company’s marketing department.
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While heading marketing, he was able to successfully incorporate a number of modern techniques to a department that had been mired in unsuccessful campaigns and poor relations with the media. Trabuco began forming strong relationships with local media personalities and executives in all of Bradesco’s important markets. He also began forging a stronger public relations strategy, underwriting charity events and other visible means of enhancing the company’s public image. Sales began increasing. By 1992, Trabuco was promoted once again, this time to the head of the financial planning division.
All the while, Bradesco had been growing rapidly. The 1990s marked the beginning of the firm’s real ascent to the level of a national player. The 1990s also saw the beginning of what some in the company might refer to as the Trabuco Era, the point in the firm at which Trabuco’s ideas began having a major influential role on the entire corporate culture and strategy.
Just as he had brought major changes to the marketing division, Luiz Carlos Trabuco immediately began a major overhaul of the struggling financial planning division’s business model. One of the first and most important changes that Trabuco introduced was the stratification of service level according to client value. Until that time, Bradesco had been operating on the small-town business model, which assumed that all clients should be treated exactly equal, no matter their value to the firm. While that worked reasonably well for simple banking services, with the introduction of the financial planning and asset management division, this folksy approach began showing major cracks. Simply put, Bradesco was losing or failing to attract the most lucrative clients because it was not competitive with other institutions. Trabuco put a quick end to that.
With the introduction of Bradesco Prime, a high-end banking service for high-net-worth clients, he made Bradesco relevant in the white-shoe banking space. This directly led to much of the banks phenomenal revenue growth throughout the 90s.
Learn more about Luis Carlos Trabuco: http://fotos.estadao.com.br/galerias/cultura,luiz-carlos-trabuco-cappi-e-lucilia-diniz-ofereceram-jantar-em-torno-do-prefeito-joao-doria-e-sua-mulher-bia-nos-jardins,30901