Vargas Runs Venezuelan Banks, Charities, and Polo Team
A leading Venezuelan executive and philanthropist was recently recognized as Latin’s America’s top entrepreneur by a top business magazine.
Victor Vargas, CEO of Banco Occidental de Descuento (BOD), was presented with the award “Latin America Entrepreneur of the Year” at a ceremony at Hotel Rafael Atocha in Madrid on June 23. Concepción Dancausa, a member of Spain’s National Delegation to the European Union’s Committee of the Regions, personally presented Vargas the award at the ceremony.
Vargas was chosen for his leadership role in driving economic growth, job creation, and expansion of wealth in Latin America.
"It is an honor to receive this award in Spain as Latin American Entrepreneur of the Year,” Vargas said, according to Banca & Negocios. “The growth of BOD Financial Group lies in the commitment to our community, building bridges internationally and this recognition is a significant endorsement of our work, not only in Venezuela but throughout Latin America.”
The annual award is run by Madrid-based The Executive magazine.
In addition to his running the bank, Vargas owns Lechuza Caracas, a professional polo team that he is also plays on. The team has frequently traveled the globe, once competing in the U.S. Open in 2009 in Palm Beach, Florida.
History of Banco Occidental de Descuento
Banco Occidental de Descuento (BOD) is the fourth-largest private bank in Venezuela. It was founded in 1957 in the western Venezuela state of Zullia by businessman Francisco Morillo Rosemary.
Victor Vargas bought the bank in 1994.
In 2001, BOD expanded to the central region of Venezuela by buying Norval Bank. The next year, it acquired Bank Monagas.
In 2006, the bank began a merger with Corp Banca Venezuela. After three years of regulatory process with Venezuela’s Superintendent of Banks, the merger was finalized in 2009.
In February, Vargas created BOD Financial Group, an international company that owns financial institutions including banks, brokerage firms, and insurance companies. BOD Financial Group’s companies are located throughout Latin America, including Venezuela, Antigua and Barbuda, and the Dominican Republic.
Vargas’ Philanthropies and Charities
Through BOD’s foundations, Victor Vargas runs a handful of charities. The charities focus on community development, entrepreneur education, childhood music education, and protection of the environment.
In 2011, Vargas created a non-profit organization called the Entrepreneur Program that cultivates new business start-ups in Venezuela. When he served as head of the Banking Association of Venezuela, he started a nationwide initiative called “Efficient Consumption” that helped install renewable energy technology at business buildings.