By Scott Wright

ROYAL Bank of Scotland has appointed a new chief for its high street banking operation.

State-backed Royal has drafted in David Lindberg as its new chief executive of retail banking. He joins from Australian bank Westpac, where he is chief executive of its consumer division.

Mr Lindberg replaces the departing Les Matheson, who is stepping down as chief executive of personal banking at Edinburgh-based Royal. Mr Matheson will be returning to Australia where he has strong family ties, the bank said. Mr Lindberg’s start date has still to be confirmed, with Mr Matheson remaining in post until a handover can take place.

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Royal Bank, which is 62.4 per cent owned by UK taxpayers, said Mr Lindberg will report directly to chief executive Alison Rose, and sit on the executive management team of parent group NatWest Holdings. The bank did not disclose his base salary. In his current role, Mr Lindberg runs Westpac’s largest division, which has nine million customers, 1,000 branches and 13,000 staff. Royal’s retail division has about 17 million UK-based customers and more than 800 branches.

Ms Rose said: “David’s insight and expertise will be invaluable in helping us to bring our new purpose to life for our retail customers and help them to thrive.”