The son of one of the founders of the Guararapes Group, Flavio Rocha is the chief executive officer of Riachuelo, a rapidly expanding retailer in Brazil tapping the growing affordable segment of the market. Rocha was also the CEO of the Guararapes Group for 10 years, which manages the Riachuelo Stores Network, Guararapes Confections, Midway Financial, Carrier Casa Verde and Shopping Midway Mall.
As part of the Guararapes Group, the largest fashion group in Brazil, Riachuelo has more than 250 stores across the country, which is populated with local low-cost apparel giants like Lojas Renner and Lojas Marisa. “Last year, we opened 43 new stores, a record for us and we will double our number of stores in four years,” Rocha told BoF in 2014.
In 2014, Riachuelo made a splash with the launch of its first flagship store on Rua Oscar Freire, a tree-lined street in the Jardins district of São Paulo that used to house luxury brands like Louis Vuitton, Cartier and Dior, before they moved their operations into the city’s popular malls. "This store, at first, was meant to be mostly a marketing effort, but it has become a strong commercial success, being the highest selling spot of all the chain in December 2013," said Rocha.
Riachuelo produces most of its collections in Brazil and is involved in every step of the supply chain, from design to logistics, production and distribution. It has gained international attention in recent years since tapping guest designers to collaborate with, which have included Karl Lagerfeld and Donatella Versace .
Rocha dropped out of college to start working at the Guararapes Group. He has also founded and chaired the Retail Development Institute, for which he is currently a director. He has been elected Best Retail CEO by Forbes Brasil, Entrepreneur of the Year by Dinheiro magazine and one of the 100 Most Influential in the Country by both Forbes and Época. In 2018, Rocha was also voted best CEO of the year award by Consumidor Moderno magazine.
The businessman has also had a high-profile political career in Brazil. He is married with four children.