David Neeleman wasn’t a good student. He was diagnosed with attention deficit disorder when his family left São Paulo and moved to the United States. But Neeleman stuck with his studies even though he had a hard time reading and writing. The University of Utah accepted Neeleman, and he managed to stay there for three years even though his meds produced some nasty side effects. He finally threw away the meds and left school. David wanted to try his hand at business.
Marcio Alaor, the Vice-President and Director of BMG Bank, recently gave a speech about Brazilian businesses, and he brought up the David Neeleman story. In spite of his learning disability, Neeleman became one of the most respected people in the aviation industry. Neeleman recently invested in another airline with Portuguese businessman Humberto Pedrosa. Pedrosa is the owner Barraqueiro group in Portugal. The new airline, Transportes Aereos Portugueses, or TAP for short, will be a low-cost airline that services select Brazilian cities.
Alaor told the group that Neeleman is no stranger to the low-cost airline business. Neeleman own JetBlue and Morris Air in the United States, and WestJet in Canada. Low-cost airlines cater to consumers that want to save money, but TAP will also cater to consumers that want to travel comfortably. That combination is sorely needed in Brazil’s aviation market according to Alaor. Alaor likes to calls Neeleman. “Mr. Creative.”
The reason for the nickname is obvious, according to Alaor. Neeleman is a master at finding solutions to business challenges. The airline industry is a major challenge. It’s hard to survive in the airline business because the costs of doing business aren’t fixed. Costs change as the market changes, and airline executives find it hard to keep up with those changes. But Alaor says Neeleman is the exception.
Marcio Alaor is another creative individual. As Vice-President and Director of the BMG Bank, Alaor is responsible for mergers and acquisitions as well as bringing new business clients into the BMG family.
Marcio is part of the banking team that decided to sponsor football clubs, and that decision has turned BMG into one of the top banks in the industry. Thanks to Alaor, BMG competes with the big banks in the consignment credit business. BMG is the leader in that industry thanks to the support the bank receives from soccer fans.
Investing in the airline business is a risky venture, according to Alaor, but Neeleman track record lowers the risk. Alaor didn’t mention BMG Bank’s investment position with the new airline.