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OPINION

Banking: The path less travelled

Traditional banking career paths may be becoming a thing of the past.

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Sergio Rial – the CEO behind Santander Brasil’s famed turnaround – has surprised the Brazilian business community by announcing he is taking over as chief executive of Lojas Americanas – a Brazilian retail chain that Euromoney can best describe as akin to a latter-day Woolworths. Imagine a press release informing the market that Jamie Dimon is to be the next CEO of Target.

While some bankers’ eyebrows were raised, investors greeted the news with delight – Lojas Americanas’ share price leapt by 18% in the next day’s trading. Rial has no doubt been hired to help the company’s digitization process and boost sales both online and in 3,500 physical stores nationwide.

Wider trend

Given Rial’s showmanship during his stewardship of Santander Brasil – he zip-lined above 40,000 employees dressed as a futuristic soldier, complete with black helmet and shining red lights, to get to the stage at one presentation – perhaps retail shopping’s gain is light entertainment’s loss.

But the jokes that have accompanied the banker’s career switch do point to a wider trend towards a blurring of traditional professional progression.


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