RBS boss Ross McEwan to take chief executive role at NAB

Scandal-hit Australian bank turns to banker who revived fortunes of Ulster Bank parent

Ross McEwan rejected suggestions that National Australia was a “broken bank,” adding that he believed he could lead it to recovery. Photograph: Daniel Pockett/EPA

Ross McEwan rejected suggestions that National Australia was a “broken bank,” adding that he believed he could lead it to recovery. Photograph: Daniel Pockett/EPA

 

Ross McEwan, who engineered the revival of Ulster Bank parent, Royal Bank of Scotland, is now taking on another turnaround job after being appointed chief executive officer of scandal-plagued National Australia Bank.

During his time at RBS, which was nationalised in the wake of the global financial crisis and beset by a multitude of scandals, the bank returned to profit and dividend payments in what chairman Howard Davies described as “one of the biggest UK corporate turnarounds in history”.

He is taking over an Australian lender reeling from its own bad behaviour. The recent inquiry into misconduct in the country’s financial industry heard National Australia employees accepted cash bribes to approve fraudulent mortgages, charged fees for services it didn’t provide, and downplayed the extent of the wrongdoing to regulators.

Mr McEwan’s predecessor, Andrew Thorburn, resigned in February after his leadership was sharply criticised by the inquiry.

Mr McEwan rejected suggestions that National Australia was a “broken bank,” adding that he believed he could lead it to recovery.

“One of the things that does attract me to NAB is probably a similar reason I went to RBS,” he said. “There’s many challenges here I think I can be very helpful to get the bank through.”

Mr McEwan previously announced his intention to leave RBS before April 2020. – Bloomberg