Brazil

Pedro Moreira Salles 

  • Chair, Itaú Unibanco (Financial Services)
Born Washington, D.C., 1959. BA, University of California, Los Angeles; International Relations Program, Yale University; Owner/President Management Program 25, Harvard Business School (1997).
“[W]e had to create a new business that would … tear down some of the authoritarian and hierarchical culture; allow for more space; work more as a team; value talent…”

Transcript

Pedro Moreira Salles, Chairman of Banco Itaú Unibanco, outlines the series of acquisitions and mergers that helped to establish one of Brazil’s largest private banks, most notably the merger of Banco Itaú and Unibanco which occurred in 2008 to form Itaú Unibanco Holding S.A, the largest financial conglomerate in the Southern Hemisphere and is the 10th largest bank in the world by market value. After receiving a BA at UCLA and a Master’s in International Relations from Yale, where he studied Latin American and Brazilian history, Salles returned to São Paulo to take over as manager of a small subdivision of Grupo Moreira Salles. In 1989, he became more directly involved with the bank, rising to Executive Chairman in 1997 and CEO in 2004. In the interview, he describes the group’s diversification into the mining and petrochemical industries in reaction to the collapse of the coffee industry in the 1930s. He also explains that his leadership style was largely influenced by his father Walter Moreira Salles, former Brazilian Ambassador to the United States and Finance Minister, who emphasized the value of establishing strong relationships and promoting meritocracy.

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