João Carlos Silveiro

Structuring the Legal Department  

As part of the growth and administrative structuring process the Iochpe Group pursued with great intensity in the 70s, a corporate legal department was created to centralize the handling of the Group’s legal issues. One of those responsible for organizing and operationalizing this new area was the lawyer João Carlos Silveiro, born on May 9, 1933. He recalls the moment as follows:    

“Originally, I was an external lawyer and Iochpe was one of my clients. I was working out of an office in Santa Cruz which happened to be in the same building as Iochpe. It was Ivoncy Ioschpe who invited me to structure the company’s legal department. The group was doing really well in various sectors, but its legal activities were badly organized. At the time, Iochpe was the largest pine exporter in South America, and lumbering was their forte, but they also had the Bank, which was growing steadily and needed something more structured. Within a short period of time, the new department had a team of sixteen lawyers”.    


The Iochpe Groups growth in the financial sector 

A change in legislation regarding financial institutions in the 1960s opened up the sector to new players, and Silveiro participated in the Iochpe Group’s evolution on this dynamic and exciting new scene:  

“The Iochpe Group’s Financial wing grew in leaps and bounds, so much so that it was able to buy an investment bank and move into that business too. The banks— which became Banco Crefisul and Banco Iochpe—went from strength to strength…They set up an investment bank, followed by a commercial bank, a leasing company and an insurance company…” 

According to Silveiro, Iochpe was an early adherent to this pioneering drive in the Brazilian economy of supplying direct lines of credit to the consumer, a practice that would become widespread in the decades that followed.    

“In the 70s, Brazilian industry began to grow and there was no direct credit for the home buyer, car buyer, vehicle buyer…Banco Iochpe was unbeatable in that, an investment bank that functioned like clockwork. The money wasn’t cheap, they didn’t lend cheap, but it was a completely uncomplicated process, so credit was cleared almost immediately, within a day or two, tops. It was this speed, agility and efficiency that earned Banco Iochpe a  prime position on the market, with operations in Santa Catarina, São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro…”    


The acquisition of Massey Ferguson 

Silveiro was the lawyer who took care of the legal side of the acquisition of Massey Ferguson, which definitively sealed Iochpe’s new industrial vocation. The opportunity to buy the firm was first spotted by the Group’s bank, which, as a service provider to Massey Ferguson, recognized it as a perfect chance for the Group to expand its industrial activities. As Silveira recalls, the negotiations took about a year:       

“The opportunity came knocking on Banco Iochpe’s door…we were asked to study the predicament of Massey Ferguson Perkins S.A., as it was then called, which hired us to design its reorganization, a total restructuring, because, as a company controlled by a Canadian group, a foreign group, they couldn’t apply for funding to the main lenders here, such as the Brazilian Development Bank (BNDES). So they needed a way to nationalize, become a Brazilian group eligible for credit, and Iochpe saw that as a great opportunity. So it bought Massey Ferguson and overhauled it, developed it, expanded the sales network… That took the Group to a whole new level, from an established logging company with a modest suite in finance to an industrial player. And they were aces at it, they really shook the sector up! It was a highly complex operation, and I was the lawyer in charge of the legal aspects. The takeover became a benchmark, a textbook case today, even in Rio and São Paulo, an example of something that had never been done before in Brazil, with modern, sophisticated legal institutions that were totally innovative for the day.”   


Setting up the Administrative Board 

Silveiro was also involved in another pioneering milestone in Iochpe’s history, when the company was taken public in 1984 and created its Administrative Board:  

“The first Board of Administration basically consisted of the four major shareholders…It was created when the company began to grow; more precisely, when it opened its capital in 1984. Under Brazilian Corporate Law, companies traded on the stock exchange have to have a Board, so when the group decided to capitalize by going public, that’s what we did.”   


Ivoncy Ioschpes entrepreneurial talent 

Silveiro spent three decades working with Ivoncy Ioschpe, the man behind the Group’s growth and diversification. He remembers his qualities as a born entrepreneur: 

“Ivoncy is the restless sort, he’s always looking ahead, and I think that’s one of his greatest qualities, he’s creative and fast. He’s not your typical southern Brazilian businessman. Down here, folks have an idea, revisit it a month later, then, maybe three years down the line, they’ll actually do something. Not with Ivoncy. If he has an idea today, he wants it implemented tomorrow. The man was so extraordinarily able, creative, efficient and fast, and so were his directors. They had a set of competencies nobody else had, and that was the secret to the company’s extraordinary growth. Ivoncy’s leadership style could get quality professionals to really identify with the company.”