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Banking

Charles Stewart: Employee #1

Charles Stewart pioneered Morgan Stanley’s presence in Brazil in the 1990s; now he is looking out from Latin America, spreading Itaú BBA’s message in Europe and beyond.

In 1996, Charles Stewart left Morgan Stanley’s New York office, where he was an analyst in the M&A department focusing mainly on Latin American M&A, and headed south to Latin America. He opened the Brazil office, quite literally: Stewart was the first person on the ground for the US bank. "I was employee number one," he says.

During his two spells in the country (1996-99 and 2008-10) Stewart was responsible for growing Morgan Stanley’s brand and business in Brazil. During his first spell he worked on some of the largest deals ever to come out of the country, including the Telebras privatization and the international IPO of Unibanco. "It was a fantastic time to be a banker here, working on some of the seminal privatizations," he says.

Then came the Russian crisis in 1998 and the subsequent devaluation of the real, and Stewart was pulled back to the US, leaving Brazil and a greatly reduced Morgan Stanley office behind. But he was back in 2008 and witnessed for himself how the country proved to be resilient to the effects of the global crisis.

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