March 28, 2023

the strongman to lead TAP?


TAP continues to experience difficult times and Christine Ourmières-Widener’s leadership will not have an easy future, especially after it was revealed that the airline TAP’s chief executive led, British regional Flybe, has entered bankruptcy. For now, it seems to be stable at the Portuguese company and has even waved with a prize at the end of 2025 if it manages to successfully complete the restructuring process which, according to Correio da Manhã, should reach two million euros. But while the current leader is going through this turbulent phase, there is one name emerging in the corridors as the best manager to lead the airline: Paulo Macedo, current president of Caixa Geral de Depósitos.

Macedo became famous in the public sphere as Director General of Taxation and President of the Council of Tax Administration, being one of the persons responsible for the modernization of the tax machine.

At the time, the Minister of Finance, Teixeira dos Santos, admitted that “people are important”, but underlined that “above all it is necessary for the services to function effectively”, he admitted that he was “the first to recognize the value of Paulo’s work Macedo to the head of the Directorate General of Taxes (DGCI)”, but guaranteed that “the best tribute” that can be paid to him “is not to deify him, nor to turn him into D. Sebastião of the tax system, but recognize that the administration has changed”.

But his real foray into politics came with his appointment as Minister of Health, a position he held from 2011 to 2015, at a time when the country was facing a financial bailout and had to implement the memorandum of understanding with the troika. The goal was simple: strict control of public spending on the NHS. A project that led him to criticism but also almost consensual praise for his managerial ability.

He excels in banking But it was in banking – first at BCP, where he spent part of his career – that he reaped great rewards for his reputation. And now more recently at Caixa Geral de Depósitos, where he is in his second term.

Years and years of losses are behind us, statements such as that of former administrator José de Matos (who took over the leadership of Caixa in 2011) who even compared the public bank to an “oil tanker that is difficult to move” and the controversial The authorship of EY in the management of CGD between 2000 and 2015, which forced the bank now headed by Paulo Macedo to make profound changes: implement a new model of risk analysis in credit granting, strengthen the independence of the person in charge of risk management and create an assessment to strengthen the control of corporate loan portfolios.

Once Paulo Macedo took over in February 2017, the public bank returned to profit. That year, Caixa recorded a positive result of 52 million euros, keeping the CEO’s promise: the public bank would only have positive results when the entire restructuring is implemented. A year in which the financial institution pledged to push ahead with “deep cost-cutting measures” and the restructuring of international operations. The issue was the reduction of 2218 employees and the closure of 181 stores.

The following year, the profits of the bank led by Paulo Macedo almost multiplied tenfold, reaching 496 million euros. An increase that led Rui Vilar to guarantee that he had returned to the shareholders’ remuneration. At issue was the distribution of dividends in the order of 200 million euros.

The year 2019 marks CGD presenting the best result ever. The financial institution made a profit of 776 million euros, which represented an increase of 56.5% compared to the previous year, when it presented 496 million euros.

The financial institution partially justified the good performance with “the exceptional result of 144 million euros” related to the sale of international subsidiaries, namely Banco Caixa Geral (in Spain) and Mercantile (in South Africa). These sales allowed CGD to “reverse impairments” incurred in 2017.

The same scenario was repeated in 2020 with profits of 492 million euros, even so, a drop of 36.5% compared to the previous year. The public bank acknowledged that this drop was due to the effects of the pandemic, which forced the institution led by Paulo Macedo to recommend impairments of 300 million euros.

The earnings story repeated itself in 2021 with results up 18.7% to €583 million. Even so, it lagged behind the figures it presented before the pandemic: in 2019 it had recorded profits of 776 million euros.

Results for 2022 are not yet known, but the first nine months of the year saw a 61% rise in profits to €692m and the public bank is considering paying the “biggest dividend ever” to taxpayers. of the order of 286 million euros related to the activity until September.

But it is true that his formula for success is based on reducing structure and increasing commissions. This goal is rarely amenable to change, as many people who encounter it admit (see pages 4/5). Controversy was the collection of booklets, as well as ending maintenance exemptions on most products. And the numbers speak for themselves: commissions alone increased by almost 11% to 459 million euros, however, Paulo Macedo guaranteed that he will not increase commissions this year.


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