National Australia Bank has appointed the CEO of Royal Bank of Scotland as its new group chief executive officer and managing director.
The New Zealand-born Ross McEwan has been CEO of Royal Bank of Scotland since 2013 but announced his resignation from RBS in April 2019.
He will start with NAB once his obligations to his current employer have been discharged, expected to be in April 2020.
Mr McEwan’s fixed remuneration will be $2.5 million (inclusive of superannuation and any salary sacrifice arrangements) plus variable rewards, which the bank has said is “appropriate” for the role.
He will be invited to join the NAB board at this time.
The appointment is subject to regulatory approvals.
NAB chairman-elect Philip Chronican – who has been acting CEO since the departure of Andrew Thorburn – said NAB had secured a “senior, global financial services executive with deep experience in international markets and longstanding knowledge of the Australian banking environment”.
“Ross McEwan is the ideal leader for NAB as we seek to transform our operations and culture firmly around leading customer service, experience and products,” Mr Chronican said.
“Ross brings a compelling range of experience across finance, insurance and investment with a track record of delivering important and practical improvements for customers. RBS has been through many of the same challenges which NAB now faces around culture, trust and reputation.
“We have secured a well-proven CEO and reached agreement on an appropriate remuneration package when compared with domestic and international peers and other sectors.”
Mr McEwan has also formerly held the roles of group executive for retail banking services at Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) and was also CBA’s executive general manager with responsibility for its branch network, contact centres and third-party mortgage brokers, and was an active supporter of the broker channel.
Mr McEwan said: “It is a privilege to return to Australia and lead NAB at a crucial time for the bank, its customers, employees, shareholders and the broader community.
“There are a number of areas where NAB can extend its lead, such as business banking, agriculture and health, and other areas where I believe we should consistently lead, such as customer service. We must also meet and exceed the expectations of our many stakeholders.
“It is essential that I protect and accelerate the bank’s transformation program. The community also expects a higher level of accountability and transparency from the banking industry. Australians deserve NAB to be a world-class service provider.”
The appointment means that Mr Chronican will transition from interim CEO to the chairman position in mid-November 2019, replacing Dr Ken Henry.
The board will then put other interim management arrangements suitable to APRA in place if required.
Mr Chronican has been interim CEO since March 2019, following the resignation of Andrew Thorburn after four and a half years as CEO.
Dr Henry indicated his intention in February to resign from the board once the permanent CEO was appointed. He joined the board as a director in 2011 and became chairman in 2015.
[Related: NAB CEO to take extended leave]
Annie Kane is the editor of The Adviser, Australia’s leading source of news, opinion and strategy for mortgage brokers.
As well as writing news and features on the Australian broking industry, the mortgage market, financial regulation, fintechs and the wider lending landscape – Annie is also the host of the Elite Broker podcast and In Focus podcasts and The Adviser Live webcasts.
Before joining Momentum Media in 2016, Annie wrote for a range of business and consumer titles, including The Guardian (Australia), BBC Music Magazine, Elle (Australia), BBC Countryfile, BBC Homes & Antiques, and Resource magazine.
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