The following list was prepared by Forbes, in partnership with the C-Level/CEO Program at the Getulio Vargas Foundation (FGV-SP). Publicly traded companies were filtered using the VEC Value Creation methodology, looking at financials for 2010-2017, then 2018 financials were evaluated to check for consistency in the final year. Companies whose CEOs started in 2018 or 2019 were excluded, to ensure that the CEO had some relationship with the value created by the company over the period of evaluation. In the case of women, given that there are fewer of them in upper management, CEOs were rated on how well they are known on the market. Professors Oscar Malvessi, João Lins, and Gilberto Sarfati contributed to the compilation of the list, for which we thank them.
BY CLAUDIA VIOLANTE, DÉCIO GALINA, IURI DANTAS, JOSÉ VICENTE BERNARDO, LUCAS BORGES TEIXEIRA, ROBERTO DUARTE, AND THIAGO NEY
CARLOS AFFONSO SEIGNEUR D’ALBUQUERQUE
At the helm of the global company since May of 2015, the CEO focuses on the client, continuously seeks efficiency, and values employees.
Investing in the diversification of markets and technological innovation, he has managed to achieve growth and earnings on the order of billions over his tenure. He won’t tell us his formula for success, but he does reveal the three-pronged philosophy that guides his work: focus on the client, a continuous quest for efficiency, and valuing employees. “It’s very simple, but it’s proven to be effective.”
Carlos Affonso Seigneur d’Albuquerque is a business administrator par excellence. He holds a bachelor’s of Economics from PUC-RJ, a specialization in Advanced Management from Harvard Business School, and an MBA in Finance and Corporate Management from renowned Brazilian universities IBMEC-RJ and Coppead-UFRJ. But his story is much more connected to digital security than to his career as an executive. He started at Valid as Treasury Manager in 1996, when the company was still part of an American multinational. Since then, he has moved up through various positions, including Finance Officer and Investor Relations Officer, until finally reaching CEO in May 2015, leading the global company with a 10-figure revenue.
Valid has had an interesting trajectory. It arrived in Brazil 1957 as a small subsidiary of Thomas de la Rue, a British company offering high-security paper services. In 1993, it was purchased by American Bank Note, a global payment technologies company; it gained its independence in 2006 with an IPO on the Bovespa. Now publicly traded, it expanded internationally and was renamed as Valid in 2010.
Today, the company is a Brazilian global giant with a presence in 17 countries over five continents; some highlights of its performance include: it is the largest company in terms of issuance of identification documents in Brazil, the fifth-largest producer of SIM Cards in the world, and it is among the world’s ten largest manufacturers of banking cards.
The CEO is one of the people behind these achievements. Albuquerque accepted to lead Valid right in the eye of the hurricane that was the economic crisis. According to him, Valid’s global presence was also a crucial factor in getting through the economic crisis in Brazil. “This type of setting brings difficulties and risk, but at the same time, multiple opportunities. We took that time to analyze our deficiencies and reaffirm our expertise.” We restructured our head office and our American subsidiary, leading to a cost reduction. “By doing this, we managed to emerge much stronger from the turbulence of the crisis, and more prepared for a market that is undergoing massive transformation.”
Valid has two main business streams: identification and security (which is at the company’s core), and the credit card, SIM card, and paper printing markets. As the leader of 6,000 employees, Albuquerque focuses on the human factor; he says that forming a united team with an aligned vision is the biggest accomplishment of his leadership. “That was an essential step for the long journey we have embarked on. We don’t expect unanimity, but rather convergence: when we determine what is to be done, we move forward with a finely tuned team and with clarity of each person’s role.”
This positive outlook can also be seen in his personal life. This cheerful 51-year old from Rio says that being with his family is the bedrock of his life. “It’s with them that I regain my energy and am inspired to keep moving forward,” he says. And the path is long. With a revenue of R$ 1.73 billion in 2018, one of the company’s primary challenges is to continue to be relevant for its different types of clients, which include everything from governments to banks, fintechs, retailers, freelancers, and automakers. Each of these has their specific security-related needs.
The prospects for the future are “challenging and motivating.” The good results from the past few years make him optimistic about the future. “We have worked very hard in our quest for excellence, by understanding the needs of our clients and staying on top of the current digital transformation. Every time we read about the difficulties facing the market, we see that Valid’s solutions make even more sense.”