The last few years in the Brazilian banking industry have been marked by a great battle between its biggest two private lenders. Bradesco lost the coveted position in 2008 and had been fighting to reclaim the position from Itau Unibanco since. Consequently, any news coming out of the two banks is often closely looked at by industry observers with the specific desire of understanding how it will affect the battle. The most recent news coming out of Bradesco is that Lazaro Brandao, its chairman of 27 years, has resigned from his position. While such a senior leadership departure would have a significant impact on the operations of any bank, Bradesco will likely no experience this as it has appointed Luiz Carlos Trabuco Cappi as his replacement. It is hoped that Mr. Cappi will continue the fight against Itau Unibanco with the same zeal that his predecessor had.
Many within and outside Bradesco speculate that Lazaro Brandao has been preparing for his departure for the last few years. Many of those that hold this opinion point to his apparent grooming of Luiz Carlos Trabuco for the position of chairman. In 2014, Brandao nominated Luiz Carlos Trabuco Cappi to become the vice chairman of the board. This appointment provided Trabuco with the opportunity to learn the inner workings of the board and greatly prepared him for the position he now holds at the bank
Before his most recent appointment to chair the Bradesco board, Luiz Carlos Trabuco had been serving as the Bradesco president. He was appointed to this position in early 2009, just a few months after Itau Unibanco had arrived in the scene. To further compound the problem, the Brazilian economy was significantly struggling in 2009, thus preventing Luiz Carlos Trabuco from immediately catching up to its larger competitor by way of an acquisition. This opportunity would, however, present itself six years later when British financial conglomerate HSBC announced that it was looking to sell its subsidiary in Brazil, HSBC Brazil. While there were other bigger banks in contention of acquiring the mid-tier bank, Bradesco showed the greatest initiative as Luiz Carlos Trabuco Cappi worked quickly to negotiate an agreeable deal between both parties. Finally, a sale figure of a little over $5 billion was agreed to, making the acquisition the largest deal in the financial industry that year.
By engineering the acquisition of HSBC Brazil, Luiz Carlos Trabuco Cappi took Bradesco closer to overtaking Itau Unibanco than it had ever been since 2008. While Bradesco still lags behind Itau Unibanco in terms of asset value, it now has a larger network coverage and a bigger portfolio of high net worth clients. Once the synergies of the acquisition are completely realized in the coming years, it is highly likely that Bradesco could also surpass Itau Unibanco in a number of other industry metrics. Understandably, the completion of the high-stakes acquisition as won Luiz Carlos Trabuco Cappi an individual accolade. He was Money magazine’s entrepreneur of the year in the finance category for the year 2015.
Anyone who has observed Luiz Carlos Trabuco Cappi’s career thus far at Bradesco will confidently assert that he will be a successful chairman. The bank executive has been with the private lender for the entirety of his professional career and has worked in almost all areas of the bank’s operations. He is now the most experienced employee at the bank following the departure of Lazaro Brandao and has already taken active measures to mentor the next generation of leaders at the bank. It was during his tenure as president that Bradesco’s corporate university was opened.