(Adds bank statement, background on Rossi’s career)
By Guillermo Parra-Bernal, Tatiana Bautzer and Jeb Blount
SAO PAULO, Nov 11 (Reuters) - Marco Antonio Rossi, the top executive at the insurance arm of Brazil’s second-largest private-sector lender Banco Bradesco SA, was killed in a plane crash, the bank said in a statement on Wednesday.
Rossi, 54, was aboard a Cessna Citation VII jet traveling from Brasilia to São Paulo when it crashed on Tuesday evening in central Brazil.
According to two sources who were briefed on the matter, Rossi met several government officials on Tuesday, before returning to São Paulo in the Cessna plane, which belonged to Bradesco.
Lúcio Flávio de Oliveira, who led Bradesco Seguros’ life insurance and retirement business, and the plane’s two pilots were also killed in the accident, the statement added.
The Brazilian Air Force said the plane disappeared from radar on Tuesday evening near the border between the states of Goias and Minas Gerais, and probably crashed at around 8 p.m. local time (2200 GMT). Rossi was seen as the most likely successor to Luiz Carlos Trabuco, chief executive officer of Banco Bradesco .
“They were recognized for their talent, competence and enthusiasm at work, fraternal relations with their teams and total dedication to their families, having carried out brilliant careers,” the statement said.
Rossi replaced Trabuco as head of Bradesco Seguros when Trabuco was tapped for the top job at the bank in 2009. Under Bradesco rules, executives must retire at the age of 65. Trabuco will turn 65 in October 2016.
Founded in 1935, Bradesco Seguros is Brazil’s largest insurer and generates about one-third of Banco Bradesco’s annual profit. It has for years been a platform for executives to climb up the corporate ladder at the parent company.
In his post, Rossi created new products for low-income families and diversified into reinsurance and corporate products. He told investors at an earnings conference call last month that Bradesco Seguros could offset the impact of Brazil’s recession on profit through a sharp focus on high-margin segments.
Rossi, a 34-year veteran at Bradesco, was also working on the potential sale of Bradesco Seguros’ high-risk insurance portfolio and on the company’s sponsorship of the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, one of the sources said.
He is survived by his wife and four children. (Editing by Kieran Murray, Ken Wills and W Simon)