As Trabuco Steps Down As CEO, He Reflects On Meteoric Rise

There are increasingly few genuine examples of the American Dream being carried out. Nowhere is this truer than in the United States itself, where wealth inequality hits new extremes with the passing of each year and the country and its infrastructure descend into a third-world slurry pond of broken dreams and hopelessness. The country that gave birth to the concept of the rags-to-riches story is slowly being strangled by the layers of fat that years of easy living and decadence have allowed to accumulate.

But the American Dream, ironically, is alive and well in other parts of the world that have not been so negatively affected by the sedentary sloth of a nation that provides even its laziest citizens with every material need. Brazil has been the epicenter of some of the biggest success stories in the business world over the last ten years. None have been more compelling than that of Bradesco, one of the country’s largest banks.

Bradesco was founded in 1943 and was little more than a small, regional concern until well into the 1970s. But under the leadership of Lazaro Brandao, a living legend of international finance, the company was able to grow a remarkable 300 times between 1990 and 2009. This incredible growth gave rise to the careers of some of the men who, today, rank among the biggest names in Brazilian finance on

One of those people is Luiz Carlos Trabuco. Employed by Bradesco since 1969, Trabuco has spent his entire career with the firm. Starting at the age of 18, he embarked on a rags-to-riches story that would rival anything out of a Horatio Alger story. Trabuco first came to work for the bank after graduating high school. At the time, he didn’t have a cent to his name. With strong ambitions of attending college, the young Trabuco needed a means to support himself and save enough money to put himself through college. He found it when he was hired by a small local bank in the town of Marilia, where he had grown up and attended school.

Over the decade of the 1970s, Trabuco’s strong work ethic began blossoming. He not only proved himself to be a highly capable employee and charismatic manager, but he was also able to put himself through night school, even while working up to 60 hours per week. By the end of the 1970s, Trabuco had attained a bachelor’s degree in business administration as well as a master’s degree in social psychology.

In the early 1980s, he was quickly becoming one of the most well-credentialed and qualified employees in the bank according to In 1984, he was tapped for his first true executive role with the firm. As the head of the bank’s advertising and public relations department, Trabuco instituted policies and programs that enabled the bank to rise to become one of the most recognized brands in the state of Sao Paulo.

In 1992, Trabuco was again assigned to an executive role. This time, he was to head up the bank’s financial planning division. He immediately moved to bring the firm closer to the model employed by the most successful North American banks. Through the creation of Bradesco Prime, Trabuco was able to attract tens of millions of dollars in new deposits from high-net-worth clients, rapidly expanding the bank’s balance sheet and enabling the issuance of hundreds of millions of dollars in new loans.

By 2009, Trabuco was named CEO. All told, his rise to the absolute top of the corporate world, from penniless kid to titan of finance, took just 40 years. In the process, Trabuco has become the Brazilian incarnation of the American Dream.

Find more about Luiz Carlos Trabuco: