Lazaro Brandao, at 91 years old, is easily the most senior currently active banking executive in the country of Brazil. The inveterate banker, who has spent his entire 75 year career with Bradesco, is leaving the firm after deciding that the board needs to ensure continuity of operations and allow for younger talent to ascend to the rank of CEO.http://www.camar.sp.gov.br/images/imagesnoticias/851/principal.html
Brandao gives some parting words of advice
Brandao, who has served as the chairman of Bradesco since 1990, has overseen the spectacular growth of the firm from a small regional interest into the largest bank in the country. He has grown into his exalted new role as one of the country’s senior financiers with aplomb. Brandao had a number of things to say to the board as he has made his departure known over the last few weeks.
He believes that Bradesco will continue to play a critical part in the development of the country. Brandao sees his firm not just as a vehicle to deliver value to shareholders and customers but as a force for continued development of the Brazilian economy. Although he says that the country’s political system is a wreck, Brandao believes strongly in the resolve of the Brazilian people and Brazilian business, stating in no unclear terms that the country is still experiencing record levels of investment of foreign capital and its industry is continuing to expand.
Brandao has also stated that one of the bank’s most serious and pressing challenges going forward will be to integrate the estimated 13 million of the bank’s customers who have no access to the internet. Although Brandao praised Trabuco, specifically, for getting 14 million of the bank’s customers online and doing most of their transactions through the bank’s own automated software, he says that the 13 million customers who are effectively technologically illiterate pose a major challenge and must be brought into the fold of internet banking. Far from being an unpleasant task, Brandao says that this will provide Bradesco with an enormous opportunity to materially better the lives of 13 million of its customers, hopefully teaching them how to interact with technology in ways and with levels of effectiveness they have never experienced before.
Under Trabuco, stock continues to rise
For his part, Luiz Carlos Trabuco, the bank’s current CEO, will take over as the chairman of the Bradesco board of directors. This comes just as Trabuco is wrapping up all the loose ends from the HSBC acquisition, a $5.2 billion-dollar deal and the largest of its kind in Brazilian history. The deal came just in time, as the bank’s stock had been down more than 80 percent since Trabuco took office. After the acquisition, the stock began a rally that has not slowed for the last two years.
Despite any criticism that may have been leveled at Trabuco during his tumultuous reign, he is widely acknowledged to have pulled off one of the greatest coups in Brazilian corporate history. After rival banks Itau and Unibanco merged in 2009, just months after Trabuco had ascended to the helm of the bank, Bradesco suddenly found itself on the losing side of a zero-sum Brazilian banking market. Customer attrition started becoming a problem, as the now far larger Itau Unibanco punished Bradesco with its massive resources, economies of scale and pricing power in all its markets.
But with the acquisition, Trabuco was able to completely turn the tables. Now, it is Bradesco that enjoys the economies of scale and pricing advantages over Itau Unibanco. So favorable is the position into which Trabuco mas maneuvered the bank that many observers are predicting that whoever Trabuco appoints as his successor will have little work to do.