Luiz Carlos Trabuco Rises Through Ranks, Changes Bradesco As Much As It Changed Him

Luiz Carlos Trabuco was born in the town of Marilia, Sao Paulo, in 1952. He was a good student, eventually graduating from high school with honors. But like many kids of his generation, he did not have the cash on hand to immediately attend college. In 1969, at the age of 18, he set out to find his first job. After applying at a number of places, not knowing what he wanted to do, he came across a help-wanted sign at a then-tiny bank called Bradesco. He was shortly hired.

Over his first year at the bank, he proved to his bosses that he had a real aptitude for learning on the job. The young Trabuco also displayed a talent for administration, being appointed to branch manager within his first year of employment.

Over the course of the 1970s, Trabuco was able to afford to put himself through college. Attending the University of Sao Paulo, he was eventually able to get a bachelor’s degree in business administration as well as a master’s degree in social psychology. Both of these degrees would prove useful as he began climbing his way through the corporate ranks.

By the early 1980s, Trabuco, now in his late-20s, had amassed an impressive resume, not only attaining a high level of education but also racking up serious experience, having worked in nearly every business unit that Bradesco had. He was eventually appointed regional manager for the now rapidly expanding firm. And in 1984, he was tapped for his first genuine executive position.

Trabuco was named head of the firm’s marketing department. He immediately began instituting a number of sweeping changes to the old ways in which the company had promoted itself. Trabuco was the first to concentrate heavily on cultivating close relationships with local media personalities and celebrities in the markets where the company operated. He also began sponsoring charity events and sports teams, placing the company’s logo on many events throughout the state of Sao Paulo.

His strategies proved enormously successful. By the time he was again promoted, the firm had seen an enormous increase in both its sales and public perception. Opinion polls showed that the firm was viewed more favorably than it had been at any point in the past. In 1992, Trabuco was again promoted, this time to head up the company’s struggling financial planning division.

Trabuco again saw immediate opportunities for large gains. Previously, the company had operated on the philosophy that all banking customers, no matter their potential value to Bradesco, should be given equal service. Trabuco, well-steeped in the successful methods of the largest North American banks, immediately saw the error in this model.

He moved to create Bradesco Prime, a high-end banking service for wealthy clients. The high-net-worth clients that Trabuco sought to attract soon found themselves being pampered and catered to with an attention to detail that had never before been seen at any Brazilian bank. This new approach of creating special services for high-net-worth clients proved to be hugely successful, with Bradesco nearly cornering this market on short order.

Trabuco’s success in the financial planning division did not go unnoticed by company brass. He was again promoted to the insurance division, where he, once again, was able to dramatically increase revenues, turning Bradesco Seguros into the single largest underwriter of retail insurance policies in the country.

Eventually, Trabuco was tapped for the position of CEO. In 2009, the journey that had started with an 18 year old kid getting his first job over the summer ended with a sophisticated banking expert taking the helm of one of the most powerful financial institutions in the world. Trabuco had successfully climbed the corporate ladder, from bottom to top.

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