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RBS CEO quits after turnaround leaves bank on 'strong and profitable footing'

Oscar Williams-Grut
·Senior City Correspondent, Yahoo Finance UK
FILE - This is a  Thursday, Feb. 27, 2014  file photo of Ross McEwan, CEO of the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) speaks during a news conference in London. Royal Bank of Scotland CEO Ross McEwan won’t accept a 1 million pound ($1.6 million) share award amid continuing losses at the taxpayer-owned bank. RBS, bailed out by the British government in 2008, on Thursday Feb. 26, 2015 reported a net loss of 3.5 billion pounds for last year, compared with 9 billion pounds in 2013. The results include a 4 billion pound write-down on Citizens Bank, which RBS plans to shed by the end of 2016.(AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
Ross McEwan, CEO of the Royal Bank of Scotland. Photo: AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis

Ross McEwan has resigned as CEO of Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS.L).

RBS announced on Thursday that McEwan was resigning as CEO and executive director at the bank. He will work his 12 month notice period until a replacement is found.

The announcement comes ahead of the bank’s annual general meeting with shareholders in Edinburgh later today and ahead of RBS’ first quarter results on Friday.

Chairman Howard Davies said in a statement: “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.”

McEwan helped to re-focus RBS on domestic banking activities and away from investment banking. The strategy helped to turn around RBS and the bank posted its first annual profit in a decade last year, before doubling them this year.

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.”

Davies said RBS would look both internally and externally for McEwan’s replacement.

McEwan said in a statement: “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.”

New Zealand-born McEwan took charge of RBS in October 2013, taking over from Stephen Hester who had joined the bank at the height of the financial crisis.