The American Dream can mean a lot of things to a lot of people. To some, it’s simply a nice, middle-class existence and a house with a picket fence. To others, it’s something deeper. It consists of the ability of anyone, no matter the circumstances into which they were born, to rise to the top of society and achieve their goals, through hard work, talent and grit. It is this latter version that has proven to be such an attraction to the millions of enterprising immigrants that the country has attracted over its existence.
But increasingly, this conception has been shown to be largely false for many generations of Americans. Surprisingly, this version of the American Dream, the old Horatio Alger story of someone rising from rags to riches through their own industry, has become more commonplace in developing countries than in America itself. One country that has experienced tremendous economic growth over the last 75 years and where many such rags-to-riches stories have come to fruition is Brazil.
Although many people unfamiliar with Brazil tend to think of it as a backwards jungle with pretty vistas, the truth is that it is one of the most dynamic economies in the world. Increasingly resembling a first-world country in many of its metropolises, Brazil is a land of opportunity that few residents of the developed world imagine. Perhaps no one person better exemplified the opportunity that Brazil presents than Luiz Carlos Trabuco Cappi.
Raised in the small town of Marilia, in a lower-class household, Trabuco Cappi got his first job at the age of 18. He went to work at what was then a small, local bank with just a couple of branches. The bank was named Bradesco. Trabuco Cappi quickly earned the praise of his superiors, proving himself an able employee and a quick learner. He was soon given his first management roles.
Over the next three decades, Trabuco Cappi would rise through the ranks, just as the bank itself rose from a tiny local bank into a major regional player throughout all of Southern Brazil. By the late 1980s, Trabuco Cappi was a regional manager and next in line for one of the company’s executive roles. In 1992, he was tapped to head up the company’s financial planning division.
Trabuco Cappi took over a stagnant department that accounted for just a few percent of the firm’s revenues. But within a few years, he had considerably grown the business, adroitly tapping into the increasingly large Brazilian upper-middle class that was retirement-conscious and looking for future stability. By the year 2003, Trabuco Cappi had transformed the division into one of the company’s most profitable business lines, accounting for more than 25 percent of the corporation’s profits. This stellar performance earned him attention from the company’s executive suite. In 2003, he was appointed head of the firm’s insurance department.
Leading Bradesco Seguros, Trabuco Cappi focused in on the retail underwriting market. He immediately had good success, nearly doubling the business in just two years. This came at a time of phenomenal growth for the company itself, which had morphed from just a couple branches in the early 60s to over 2,000 by the mid-2000s. Trabuco Cappi had personally played a large role in the company’s explosive rise from obscurity to the national stage. After his success heading up the insurance division, he had proven himself to be one of the most capable men in the firm. In 2009, he was tapped to replace outgoing CEO Mario Cypriano. Trabuco Cappi had risen from the lowest, entry-level job in the company to the highest position not just in Bradesco, but in the entire country. He was head of one of the second largest private company in Brazil.
Although Trabuco Cappi’s tenure as CEO has seen mixed results, he was responsible for the acquisition of HSBC Brazil, the largest purchase in Brazilian history. If the past is any guide, exciting times lie ahead for Bradesco and Trabuco Cappi both.
For more information about Luiz Carlos Trabuco Cappi: http://www.camar.sp.gov.br/images/imagesnoticias/851/principal.html