Outgoing RBS boss Ross McEwan to lead National Australia Bank

The outgoing chief executive of Royal Bank of Scotland has been unveiled as the next boss of the National Australia Bank.

Ross McEwan, who was responsible for turning a profit at the state-backed bank for the first time since the financial crisis, will join NAB once a successor for his current role is found.

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.”

Ross McEwan
Ross McEwan

Mr McEwan won plaudits in the City for his stewardship of the bank, which is still 62% owned by the taxpayer following a £45 billion bailout in 2008, after completing one of the largest restructurings in UK corporate history.

During his time at the helm, he slimmed down the business, turn its focus primarily on the UK and attempted to move on from the financial crisis by settling any outstanding regulator investigations.

This led to the bank finally turning a profit in 2017, and extending profits to £1.62 billion a year later.

His new job will not be dissimilar, in terms of the task at hand, with NAB facing its own scandal in recent months.

The 62-year-old New Zealander is replacing Andrew Thorburn at NAB – who resigned in February following heavy criticism of his leadership and a public inquiry into misconduct throughout the finance industry.

Australia’s Royal Commission found NAB charged nearly 100 million Australian dollars (£56.4 million) for services that never existed. Allegations of cash bribes for counter staff and fake documents for loans were also raised.

Mr McEwan previously worked at the Commonwealth Bank of Australia before joining RBS in 2012.

Philip Chronican, NAB’s interim chief executive and chairman-elect, said: “Ross McEwan is the ideal leader for NAB as we seek to transform our operations and culture firmly around leading customer service, experience and products.”