Few people in today’s globalized, socially stratified societies are able to meaningfully transcend the classes that they were born into. It’s for this reason that, when we see someone who does, it makes a strong impression. Such is the case of Bradesco CEO Luiz Carlos Trabuco’s rise from a lower-middle class Brazilian kid to one of the most powerful CEOs in Latin America. It seems that the so-called American Dream is alive, even in Brazil.
A modern Horatio Alger story or one of forbidden fruit?
While Trabuco’s story is, in some ways, a feel-good example of hard work, talent and grit propelling a worthy individual to the top, in other ways, it is also a tale of the imperatives of modern corporate life implacably demanding that all those who operate within it conform to its ways.
Luiz Carlos Trabuco was born in Marilia, Sao Paulo, in 1951. He had a working-class upbringing, not poor, by Brazilian standards, but certainly not rich, either. By the age of 18, Trabuco had graduated from high school and was looking for a job. Lacking sufficient funds to attend college, he got a job at what was at that time a local bank with just a few branches throughout Marilia. He was hired on as a bank teller.
His first year at Bradesco proved that Trabuco had what it took to learn new skills quickly and get the job done right. He was quickly promoted to shift manager, then branch manager. By the late-1970s, Trabuco was overseeing an entire district for the now quickly growing firm. He had, by this time, earned a master’s degree in social psychology from the University of Sao Paulo. He was moving up fast.
It was during this time that Trabuco was given his first real executive role. He was placed in charge of the company’s marketing department. Drawing from his own banking experience and academic knowledge of psychological precepts, he began radically transforming the way in which the marketing department operated. By 1992, sales had gone through the roof and Trabuco’s marketing strategies had been at the core. In that year, he was appointed head of the firm’s financial planning division.
Read more on Crunchbase.com
But it was here that he began to show a tendency to not only conform to global corporatist standards but to positively embrace them. It was in the financial planning division that Trabuco, who had worked his way up the ranks of the company from one of the lowest positions, began filling key positions within the department by recruiting proven talent from outside the firm. While this angered some within Bradesco, there is little arguing that it turned out to be a highly effective move.
He also quickly did away with some of the quaint old ways in which the bank had always operated. One of these was the idea, long espoused by all the bank’s departments, that all of Bradesco’s customers should be treated equally, no matter their value to the company. Trabuco, now with extensive knowledge of the global banking market, knew that to attract high-value clients, he needed to offer exceptional services.
He created Bradesco Prime, a line of personal financial products for high-net-worth clients that include separate, luxuriously appointed facilities, lavish rewards and on-call, personal banking staff ready to attend to the client’s every need. This strategy began showing immediate results. Within a few years, Bradesco had attracted not only many of Brazil’s wealthiest clients but also those from across the globe. Trabuco continued having similar successes in other areas of the business.
But to some extent, Trabuco’s rise is a statement of his ability to conform to the imperatives of global finance, not to buck them.
Find more about Luis Carlos Trabuco Cappi: http://www.istoedinheiro.com.br/noticias/negocios/20151218/luiz-carlos-trabuco-cappi-empreendedor-ano-nas-financas-2015/327856