Ross McEwan takes over as chief of RBS

Ross McEwan takes over as chief of RBS

He worked in the insurance and investment industries both in Australia and New Zealand for more than 25 years.

He spent 18 years in senior executive roles including managing director of stockbroking business First NZ Capital Securities and chief executive of National Mutual Life Association of Australasia Ltd/AXA New Zealand Ltd.

The 56-year-old is taking on what has been described as the toughest job in banking after years of controversy for RBS.

His predecessor’s exit was announced last June amid reports of a rift with Chancellor George Osborne.

Mr Hester had taken over at the bank in November 2008 in the midst of a calamitous period which saw it rescued by the Government, which still holds an 80pc stake.

Its collapse followed the disastrous 2007 takeover of Dutch bank ABN Amro in a £49bn deal that weakened its capital position and left it highly vulnerable to the looming credit crunch.

Fred Goodwin was widely blamed for the catastrophe and later stripped of his knighthood, and Mr Hester was parachuted in to put the bank back on an even keel.

Tens of thousands of job cuts followed while non-core assets worth more than £200bn including a chain of 900 pubs and an aircraft leasing business were sold off.

RBS also began to sell off insurer Direct Line. Last week it announced a £600m deal to hive off 314 bank branches under the revived Williams & Glyn’s brand.

As Mr McEwan’s appointment was announced in August, the bank said it had swung back out of the red with half-year pre-tax profits of £1.4bn.

At the weekend he welcomed the announcement that the Help to Buy scheme was being brought forward, as RBS announced that it would introduce a range of 95pc loan-to-value mortgages under the scheme.

Opening hours at its branches, which include the NatWest network, would be extended to cope with demand, with an aim to sign up 25,500 customers.

(Edited by Andrew Trotman)

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