written by Gabriela Vasconcellos
photos by Élcio Carriço
He is 54, and 34 of those years have been devoted to Odebrecht. His career began in 1979, when he was invited to work on a highway project in the Brazilian state of Alagoas as an accountant. Of Italian descent, he was born in Ituberá, Bahia, and has a degree in Accounting. When he joined the company, Umberto Matteoni lived in Salvador and never dreamed that one day his work with the Group would take him back to the town where he was born.
In 2012, at the invitation of the Odebrecht Foundation, he became the officer Responsible for the deployment of a Shared Services Center (CSC) in Ituberá. The CSC serves the institutions linked to the Program for the Development and Growth Integrated with Sustainability of the Mosaic of Environmental Protection Areas of the Southern Bahia Lowlands (PDCIS), which is supported by the Foundation and public and private partners.
“At first, I wasn't sure what it would be like to go back to my roots. But I embraced the cause, because it is a very noble one, and it motivated me to contribute to the creation of a center that includes everything I've learned in the Group. It is the sum total of my education through work,” says Matteoni.
The CSC specializes in streamlining financial, tax, accounting, people management and IT processes, ensuring business security and reducing operating costs. Previously, Matteoni had been responsible for Odebrecht's CSC in São Paulo. “I took the helm of a project that was already underway at the time to help the Groups companies focus on their core activities.”
After setting up the CSC-Southern Bahia Lowlands, Matteoni in 2013 went on to lead a team that is providing entrepreneurship support for the PDCIS. “Working to transform the region where I was born gives me all kinds of satisfaction,” he says. According to him, Odebrecht has been an education. “I've developed the spirit of service I carry with me to this day. It's the mainstay that keeps me going. My challenge has always been to groom and educate people, and I'm here to collaborate by sharing knowledge. This is the most important part of my career,” he stresses.
Matteoni shares the lessons he has learned during more than three decades with the Group with his team members. Together with an Information Technology (IT) team, he has developed tools to support entrepreneurship, including MyWebDay in the early 1990s. “I traveled to virtually all the countries where Odebrecht was active to deploy it. That experience was key for giving me a broad perspective on the Groups operations and made it easier to adapt to different cultures,” he says.
In 2008, when MyWebDay was no longer keeping up with Odebrechts growth, Matteoni went back to provide IT support, this time helping deploy the O2 (Oracle) System. That challenge was a major milestone in his career. “We had to be very attentive and innovative, interacting with different people and building new partnerships,” he recalls.
Other highlights of his professional life include the Balsas Mineiro project in Porto Nacional, Goiás. “Working in a remote part of the country made me see that the only way to achieve a goal is through teamwork,” he recalls.
Now that he is back in his home region, Matteoni allows that his generalist background has enabled him to take on so many different challenges. “Ive always been open to learning new things and acquiring all kinds of knowledge, combined with the entrepreneurial philosophy of a strong organization that sets its course with clear objectives and understands that the reason for its existence is the satisfaction of its clients and the motivation and commitment of its members,” he argues.