On behalf of the Board of Directors of the Brazilian-American Chamber of Commerce, we regretfully inform you of the passing, on December 10, 2020 at the age of 82, of Joseph Safra, Lebanese-Brazilian banker who ran the Brazilian banking and investment empire Safra Group, and longtime Chamber affiliate. The Safra family has been a great supporter of the Chamber since its inception in 1969, and Mr. Safra’s dialogue with the Chamber strengthened ties between Brazil and the United States and furthered our mission of promoting trade and investment between the two nations.
Born in Beirut, Lebanon to a Sephardic Jewish family with banking connections, Mr. Safra moved to Brazil in 1952. In 1955, his brother Edmond and father Jacob started financing assets in São Paulo. That same year, Mr. Safra founded Banco Safra, and went on to serve as Chairman of all Safra companies, offering banking services throughout North America, South America, and Europe. He was credited with making Banco Safra one of Brazil’s soundest banks and today, the sixth largest private bank in Brazil. As Brazil’s richest man and, for many years, the world’s wealthiest banker, he also spent much of his time funding health, education, and charity projects.
Mr. Safra is survived by his wife, Vicky Sarfati, and their four children – Jacob, Esther (and spouse Carlos Dayan), Alberto, and David. More information on Mr. Safra’s great life and career can be found here: