RBS retail head tipped to become chief exec

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Royal Bank of Scotland retail banking head Ross McEwan has been suggested as frontrunner to replace outgoing group chief executive Stephen Hester at the state-banked bank.

The Sunday Telegraph reports McEwan has emerged as the leading candidate after a six week search process.

The appointment will be subject to approval from the RBS board, UK Financial Investments, which manages the Governement’s 81 per cent stake in the bank, the Prudential Regulation Authority and the Financial Conduct Authority.

The newspaper says an announcement on Hester’s replacement could come as early as Friday as part of the bank’s half-year results, though it is more likely the appointment will take several weeks.

McEwan joined RBS as chief executive of its UK retail business last August, and before that ran the retail banking arm at the Commonwealth Bank of Australia for five years.

RBS finance director Bruce van Saun is also reported to be in the running for the top job.

Hester announced last month he was stepping down from the chief executive role, as he could not commit to staying on at the helm once the bank has returned to the private sector.

He will continue as RBS chief executive until December, leaving with a pay package of £1.6m plus a pay award that was valued at £3m as at 12 June.

RBS declined to comment.