Grupo Bradesco, one of the largest banks in Brazil, has recently announced that there will be major changes with its executive team. Its long-time chairman of the board, Lazaro Brandao, has announced that he will be permanently retiring in the next few weeks. His successor will be Luiz Carlos Trabuco Cappi, the current CEO and lifelong employee of the bank. The moves have made some investors nervous, creating anxiety about the departure of a man who has been a critical pillar in the company’s success.

An employee rises to status of legend

Although Lazaro Brandao did not found Bradesco, he has acquired the same aura among shareholders as many of the most famous business owners and entrepreneurs in the world. There is little question that Lazaro Brandao is the Warren Buffett or Sam Walton of Grupo Bradesco.

Even though he may not have founded the company, he has been there from the start. Brandao first came to work for the bank in 1943, its first year of operation, when he was just 16 years old. Although he had no formal education, the ambitious young banker quickly proved to be a fast learner and capable manager. He rose quickly through the ranks.

Throughout the second half of the 20th century, Bradesco grew from a one-branch thrift bank into a major regional player in Sao Paulo state. In 1981, Brandao was appointed CEO of the firm. In 1990, he was named as chairman of the board of directors, a position that he held concurrently with that of CEO from 1990 to 1999, the only time in the bank’s history that one man has held both positions.

But it was his leadership throughout the 90s and 2000s, when Brandao was in his 70s and 80s, that has endeared him so deeply with investors. It was over this period that the bank experienced the period of its most explosive growth. Between 1990 and 2009, the bank’s stock price exploded by more than 300 times. It went from having a few dozen branches, in the 1980s, to having nearly 3,000 by the end of the 2000s. While this success was the product of many talented people working hard for the bank, there is also little doubt that Brandao’s vision and leadership had a lot to do with Bradesco’s incredible run.

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Luiz Carlos Trabuco Cappi also shares some similarities with Brandao. Trabuco Cappi came to work for the bank in 1969, at the age of 18. Like Brandao, he, too, was able to begin quickly and steadily rising through the ranks of the firm. Trabuco Cappi was appointed to his first executive roles in the 1980s and continued to be promoted throughout the 90s and 2000s. Even more so that Brandao, Trabuco Cappi was responsible for transforming the way that the bank does business, modernizing the departments of which he was in charge and shaping the company’s business model in ways that persist to the present.

But when Trabuco Cappi was appointed CEO in 2009, the bank experienced one of the most protracted losing streaks in its history. Trabuco Cappi was eventually able to fully redeem himself with investors, completing the acquisition of HSBC in 2015. But many of the bank’s shareholders still have a negative association in the minds with Trabuco Cappi’s name. This is undeserved, however, as most observers agree that the problems that Bradesco faced throughout the 2010s were mostly structural and represented problems that Trabuco Cappi inherited, not ones that he caused.

Regardless, Lazaro Brandao has made clear that Trabuco Cappi has his full support and approval. He says that no one else on Earth is more qualified to lead Bradesco into the future.

Learn more information about Luiz Carlos Trabuco Cappi:http://economia.estadao.com.br/noticias/geral,prisao-dos-irmaos-batista-nao-impactam-risco-da-jbs,70001996105