THE Royal Bank of Scotland has said the search for a new chief executive is ongoing after it was revealed outgoing Ross McEwan is to take the top job at National Australia Bank.

Howard Davies, RBS chairman, congratulated Mr McEwan on his appointment, which comes after the chief executive announced his departure in April. He is expected to stay at RBS until a successor is found.

Alison Rose, NatWest deputy chief executive, has been suggested as the favourite for the job but it is understood at least one other internal candidate is vying for the role.

READ MORE: Outgoing RBS chief Ross McEwan lands top job at National Australia Bank

Mr McEwan was at the bank more than five years, during which time he oversaw one of the most dramatic rationalisation programmes of its kind which involved a series of unpopular branch closures.

He said in April he felt the time was right for him to move on.

RBS returned to profit in 2017 after incurring years of losses in the wake of the financial crisis.

READ MORE: Two internal candidates vying for top job at Royal Bank of Scotland

The bank is 62 per cent owned by the taxpayer following a £45 billion bailout in 2008.

Mr McEwan said earlier that his only regret was “that I haven’t done enough on the customer service delivery” because of “all the conduct, litigation, restructuring issues we dealt with”.

Mr 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.”

New Zealander Mr McEwan previously worked at the Commonwealth Bank of Australia before joining RBS.