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Bank chief returns Down Under

RBS boss McEwan appointed CEO at National Australia Bank

Ross McEwan

Ross McEwan: new position (pic: Terry Murden)

Royal Bank of Scotland’s outgoing chief executive Ross McEwan has been appointed chief executive of National Australia Bank.

The 62-year-old will take on his new role next April and seek to regain customer trust after a national inquiry exposed widespread industry misconduct.

New Zealander Mr McEwan, who succeeded Stephen Hester in 2013, announced in April that he would be leaving Edinburgh-based RBS. He narrowly missed out on landing the top job at Commonwealth Bank where he was head of retail banking.

At NAB he replaces Andrew Thorburn who was forced to resign in February this year.

Mr McEwan’s pay deal is lower than that of his predecessor, with a fixed salary set at $2.5 million (£1.4m) a year with the ability to earn a short-term bonus of up to 150% of salary.

Mr McEwan’s long-term incentives are fixed at up to 130% of fixed salary over four years.

At a press conference held on Friday morning in Melbourne Mr McEwan said he was looking forward to re-invigorating the transformation programme that was already underway. However, he stopped short of saying it needed to be ramped up.

“One of the things that does attract me to NAB is similar to the reasons I went to RBS, there are many challenges here but I believe I can be helpful,” he said.

He  joined RBS in 2012 as the chief of its UK retail operations. His departure will focus minds on his replacement with recently promoted executives Alison Rose and CFO Katie Murray in the frame to become the first female CEO in the bank’s history.

Ms Rose was installed as Ross McEwan’s deputy at its NatWest Holdings business last November. The bank appointed Katie Murray as executive director and chief financial officer (CFO) at the turn of the year.

In a statement issued late last night RBS chairman Howard Davies said: “We note today’s announcement that Ross will take over as CEO of National Australia Bank and congratulate him on this appointment. The search for a successor remains ongoing and the effective date of Ross’ departure will be confirmed in due course.”



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