RBS CEO McEwan resigns; Alison Rose may succeed

RBS chief executive Ross McEwan

UPDATE 4 — Royal Bank of Scotland said on Thursday that Ross McEwan has resigned from his role as chief executive officer (CEO).

RBS said McEwan has a 12 month notice period and “will remain in his position until a successor has been appointed and an orderly handover has taken place.”

RBS is still 62% owned by the UK taxpayer following its bailout during the last financial crisis.

Alison Rose, the bank’s CEO of Commercial & Private Banking, is seen as one of the favorites to succeed New Zealander McEwan. 

Rose, who also serves as deputy CEO of NatWest Holdings, has worked for RBS for more than 20 years and is responsible for RBS’s Coutts private banking brand. 

If Rose became CEO, such a move would make RBS the first bank in Britain to have two women in its most senior positions at the same time. Katie Murray became the bank’s chief financial officer last December. 

RBS chairman Howard Davies said: “For the past five and a half years Ross has worked tirelessly to make the bank stronger and safer and played the central role in delivering a return to profitability and dividend payments to shareholders.

“The board and I are grateful for the huge contribution Ross has made in one of the toughest jobs in banking.

“His successful execution of the strategy to refocus the bank back on its core markets here in the UK and Ireland has helped to deliver one of the biggest UK corporate turnarounds in history.

“RBS is now well positioned to succeed in the future in what is a rapidly evolving landscape for the banking sector.

“We will be conducting an internal and external search for his successor, which will start immediately.”

McEwan said: “After over five and a half very rewarding years, and with the bank in a much stronger financial position, it is time for me to step down as CEO.

“It has been a privilege to lead this great bank and to have worked with some really outstanding people in the process.

“It is never easy to leave somewhere like RBS.

“However with much of the restructuring done and the bank on a strong and profitable footing, I have delivered the strategy that I set out in 2013 and now feels like the right time for me to step aside and for a new CEO to lead the bank.

“I’d like to thank the Board, shareholders and UKGI for the support they have shown me during my time at the bank and our colleagues for the remarkable job in turning this bank around.”