As president and chief executive officer of Iguatemi Empresa de Shopping Centers SA, Carlos Jereissati Filho oversees the activities of one of the largest shopping mall companies in Brazil, operating a total of thirteen prominent establishments around the country such as the Iguatemi Campinas, Iguatemi Porto Alegre and the Galleria Mall.
Appointed to the role in 2005, Carlos Jereissati has played a strategic role in positioning the Iguatemi outlets as centres for luxury shopping within Brazil. Along with being the first to introduce VIP concierge services and personal shopping, the company was the first to acquire licences to host stores for brands such as Burberry and Tiffany’s.
In 2012, the opening of the JK Iguatemi mall in São Paulo also saw the launch of the first Lanvin, Tory Burch, Prada and Saint Laurent stores in the country. Jereissati also operates two other popular outlets in São Paulo, Market Place and the Iguatemi São Paulo, which boasts the highest revenue generation per square metre. Jerresseti also support local talent, stocking domestic brands such as Pedro Lourenço and Antonio Barnardo, and has also previously sponsored São Paulo Fashion Week.
Where were you born? Where did you spend your childhood?
Sao Paulo, Brazil
What are both of your parents’ occupations; What influence did your father Carlos
Jereissati Sr have?
My father Carlos Jereissati Sr. opened his first center almost 50 years ago. When it was founded
in 1966, Iguatemi Sao Paulo was the first shopping center in Brazil.
Work and career till now. What lead Carlos Jereissati here?
When I was little, my father used to pay me and my sister to count how many shopping bags we
could spot in the mall, so we developed a passion for this business early on. I started working at
Iguatemi when I was 19 years old. I started as an intern, and worked my way up by working at
several departments inside the group – from planning to marketing, to operations and finance. I
really had to be exposed to all areas of the company to make sure I was prepared. These hands-
on experience influenced me to chase my dream to bring foreign luxury brands into Brazil –
previously unavailable when I was growing up I became CEO in 2002.
Mission and vision of Carlos Jereissati work and company:
Our priority is to create memorable and unique experiences for consumption and leisure to
visitors in our malls. We want visitors to have a lasting impression of excellence and quality of a
space that welcomes Brazil’s consumers from all levels from the rapidly growing middle to
higher incomes levels. We create a casual setting in a sophisticated way to suit our customer. Our
goal is to keep the level of excellence and distinction to have the most admired and best shopping
malls in the market.
Leadership style and business philosophies
We are a family business with a solid track record and strong financial results, and we have a
deep understanding of what Brazilians want. Our first mall opened in 1966 in South America, and
has since played a pioneering role in the indoor shopping/luxury goods category; we were the
first ones to bring the shopping mall concept to Brazil.
Most of the time, international luxury brands choose Iguatemi is the best “port of entry” for
luxury brands in the country. We have also been actively approaching more accessible brands as
the luxury market and retail landscape have shown us the importance to adapt to the way
consumers shop today, mixing high and low, for example with stores such as Top Shop or Gucci
Men, as the market for men’s “high” fashion, has grown tremendously. One of our pioneering
initiatives to help international brands is I-Retail, which provides a 360º platform and acts as an
incubator for brands wanting to open in Brazil, softening their landing in our country. I-Retail’s
mission is to help operate, provide guidance and preserve a brand’s identity, remaining faithful to
the DNA of each one. We want to work as partners with brands to help them grow.
Seminal moments and achievements in your path. What were your biggest setbacks and challenges?
As CEO of Iguatemi one of my proudest accomplishments was in 2007 when Iguatemi debuted
its shares on the São Paulo Stock Exchange (Bovespa). We are proud to be ranked the most
valuable trading location in Latin America by Cushman & Wakefield and the highest sales per
square meter in Brazil.
The challenges we face are that Brazil is a complicated country to get into due to import taxes, a
complex tax system and difficult labor laws. For this reason, we created the i-Retail division to
help luxury brands soften their landing in Brazil. The luxury customer base is getting bigger each
day with the growth of the middle class and there is increasing demand. Although we have
excelled in bringing luxury brands to the country new challenges appear and we are working
every day to make sure Iguatemi and I-retail get better and better at smoothing the entrance of
brands in Brazil.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years? Paint the picture for us.
We are expanding and will have 17 malls by end of 2015. We continue to grow and improve our
malls increasingly. In Campinas and Porto Alegre, we are undergoing expansion so we can
welcome more luxury brands. We recently entered the Outlet segment in some regions of the
country, making premium brands available at significant discounts. I see myself in a company
with continuous growth and even more opportunity in 5 years when hopefully many other
markets in Brazil will be more developed. I also think I will continue to realize my dream to
bring foreign luxury brands to Brazil, I am working every day to make sure it gets better and
When did you know you wanted to be an entrepreneur?
I was born into the mall business. I can’t remember a time when I was not immersed in the
What are your top favorite restaurants, galleries and cultural places in the world?
TO EAT: Rodeio, Jun Sakamoto and Spot
MY FAVORITE GALLERIES: Galeria Vermelho, Fortes Vilaça, Galeria Luiza Strina, Galeria
Nara Roesler, Galeria Leme, Galeria Millan
MY MUSEUMS & CULTURAL PLACES: Pinacoteca do Estado de São Paulo, A Casa de
Vidro (Glass House) from Lina Bo Bardi, MASP, Oca, Auditório Ibirapuera, Sala São Paulo
Why is it important to bring the fashion and luxury industry to South America?
The last 10 years have completely changed the Brazilian luxury market. In the past, there was a
complete lack of interest by foreign brands to enter the country. Now, international luxury brands
choose Iguatemi is as the best “port of entry” for luxury brands in the country. South Americans
and especially Brazilians travel around the world, and they have access to the best outside of their
country. It is important that they also have access to these products, brands and services inside
their own country, and this is where we play an important role. Iguatemi quickly identified these
needs and we have evolved into an influential institution, we can lead our consumers by the hand
and redefine their attitude toward luxury.
What can Brazil offer the world in luxury goods, that no one else can?
Culturally Brazilians tend to be thoughtful and considerate hosts, and there is a very strong
emphasis on high-level service. This is a trait that is quintessentially Brazilian. We are renowned
for our excellent customer service and for our intimate relationship with our clientele, which is
different than many cultures around the world, said Carlos Jereissati. Brazilians are also very social. Our shopping
centers are platforms for leisure, community and family life. Treating our customers well and
cultivating closeness has been paramount. In addition, our events, personal shoppers, concierges,
lounges have all contributed to creating an inviting atmosphere.
Where else do you see the luxury goods market opening up soon, Carlos Jereissati?
BRIC countries are appealing to luxury retailers due to the emergence of the middle class in these
economies. I can mostly speak for Brazil, where there are currently 100m people considered in
this category, up from 50m less than five years ago. By 2014, there was 120m, or 60% of the
population. That’s a lot of growth, which is not happening in other parts of the world. With the
expanding Brazilian economy, the world is looking to invest in Brazil and it makes sense.