When he took over at the helm of Bradesco in 2009, Luiz Carlos Trabuco Cappi had one thing in mind. He wanted to make Bradesco into the undisputed champion of the Brazilian retail banking and financial services industry. Now, 9 years later, he is finally stepping down from his, at times, tumultuous run as CEO.
But overall, Trabuco Cappi’s goals of reclaiming the title of number-one bank in Brazil have been met. Today, Bradesco is the largest bank in the country by various measures, crushing archrival Itau Unibanco in such areas as number of branches, cash on deposit and number of employees.
Trabuco Cappi speaks softly but carries a big stick
Trabuco Cappi has never been one to loudly gloat about his successes or declaim on his plans of conquest. On the contrary, the 67-year-old banker is known for his soft-spoken style and understated, professional manners. Although he could afford to drive the most expensive luxury cars, he is noted for his Sam-Walton-like affinity for late model, banal cars and off-the-rack suits.
But this understated approach conceals the wolf wearing the shorn wool. Those close to him describe Trabuco Cappi as nearly monomaniacal in his pursuit of his goals. He is known to be a strong proponent of meritocratic hiring practices, largely eschewing the softer measures of an employee’s worth to the company for more concrete things, such as innovations, increases in earning and ability to fire up the troops and bring projects to completion. Token markers of employee value, like credentials and seniority, are of little interest to Trabuco Cappi.
He has also been known throughout his career to favor winning decisively in the marketplace. Trabuco Cappi has seemed to subscribe to the idea of total war in business, not merely defeating the competition but crushing it utterly and irreparably, so that it may not rise to fight again.
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This ruthless streak in Trabuco Cappi’s management style can be seen in the acquisition of HSBC Brazil, whereafter, Bradesco engaged in a massive push to use its newfound economies of scale to undercut chief rival Itau Unibanco in all of its key markets. Trabuco Cappi was also able to achieve phenomenal results for shareholders after taking over the bank’s insurance arm, Bradesco Seguros. There, he quickly annihilated the field, driving the unit to become the single largest underwriter of retail insurance policies in the country. In the process, he left a carnage-strewn trail of despair throughout the industry from which John D. Rockefeller himself may have recoiled in a fit of stinging empathy.
But this willingness to go the extra mile and do what needs to be done to finish the job has also made Trabuco Cappi a hero among shareholders. Through his 2015 acquisition of HSBC Brazil, he was able to halt the bank’s tumble towards the precipice of insolvency, instantly rocketing it back to the number-one spot. Within two years, the firm’s stock price had bounced back from its 2015 lows, gaining nearly five times its previous value. Trabuco Cappi was widely hailed in the business press as a master of the deal, with one stroke, saving his bank from the verge of dissolution and propelling it to a position of unquestioned dominance.
For those who have followed Trabuco Cappi over his entire career as president of the company, the fact that he would be able to pull off such a stunning fourth-quarter upset with his company nearly consigned to mortal defeat comes as no surprise. Trabuco Cappi has been a virtual miracle worker throughout his tenure at Bradesco, bringing innumerable business units back from the brink of oblivion and turning them into massively profitable subsidiaries of the bank.
Find more about Luiz Carlos Trabuco Cappi: http://www1.folha.uol.com.br/mercado/2017/10/1926243-proximo-presidente-do-bradesco-saira-da-diretoria-do-banco-diz-trabuco.shtml