The Royal Bank of Scotland has announced that its chief Executive Officer (CEO) is to step down. 

Ross McEwan, who was also the bank's Executive Director, said it had been "priviledge" to lead the bank, but now was the right time to go having put most of his restructuring plan in place.

Mr McEwan spent more than half a decade in the hotseat, and his tenure saw the bank cut many branches on the high street.

The state-backed lender swung the axe on 60 branches on Scotland – more than one-third of its total – in its most recent wave of closures in late 2017.

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It emphasised the continuing, dramatic reduction in branch numbers at the bank, which had more than 300 in 2013.

HeraldScotland:

Mr McEwan has a 12 month notice period and will remain in his position until a successor has been appointed and an orderly handover has taken place. 

The effective date of his departure will be confirmed in due course.

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.

"It has been a privilege to lead this great bank and to have worked with some really outstanding people in the process.

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"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 anew CEO to lead the bank."

HeraldScotland:

Ross McEwan

Chairman Howard Davies added: “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.

"The Board and I are grateful for the huge contributionRoss 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.

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"RBS is now well positioned to succeed in the future in what is a rapidly evolving landscape for the banking sector. We will be conducting an internal and external search for his successor, which will start immediately.”

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 £45 billion taxpayer bailout amid the financial crisis.

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

HeraldScotland:

Mr McEwan has presided over a return to profit at RBS, with the 61-year-old New Zealander seeing the lender report its second successive year in the black for 2018 and announcing a £1.6 billion final dividend, resulting in a near £1 billion windfall for the taxpayer.

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

Full year pre-tax operating profit rose 50% to £3.4 billion. It marked the bank's second year of profits following a decade-long run of stinging losses, during a period marred by crisis-era legacy and conduct charges.
Shares slipped 1% after news of Mr McEwan's departure.