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Royal Bank of Scotland chief executive to step down

The lender’s chief executive will remain in his post until a successor is appointed.

Stepping down: Royal Bank of Scotland boss Ross McEwan.
Stepping down: Royal Bank of Scotland boss Ross McEwan.

Royal Bank of Scotland boss Ross McEwan is stepping down after more than five-and-a-half years at the helm of the part-nationalised bank.

Mr McEwan has a year's notice period and will stay in post until a successor has been appointed, with his leaving date to be confirmed in due course.

The news comes ahead of the lender's annual general meeting being held in Edinburgh later on Thursday.

Mr 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."

He added: "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."

RBS chairman Howard Davies said the search for Mr McEwan's successor will start immediately. 

He paid tribute to Mr McEwan's time in charge. 

Mr Davies said: "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." 

Mr McEwan took up the post in October 2013 and has led the bank through testing times, having been left largely in the hands of the State after a mammoth £45bn taxpayer bail out amid the financial crisis. 

It was more than 80% owned by the Government at one stage, but has since reduced the taxpayer's stake to 62.4%. 

New Zealander Mr McEwan has presided over a return to profit at RBS, which in February reported its second successive year in the black and announced a £1.6bn final dividend, resulting in a near £1bn windfall for the taxpayer. 

The lender saw bottom-line profits more than double from £752m last year to £1.62bn, a 116% increase.

 Full year pre-tax operating profit rose 50% to £3.4bn. It marked the bank's second year in the black following a decade-long run of stinging losses, during a period marred by crisis-era legacy and conduct charges.

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