National Australia Bank has announced the appointment of Kiwi Ross McEwan as its new Group Chief Executive and Managing Director.
Born in Hastings and a Massey University graduate, the former Australian banking industry executive has led the Royal Bank of Scotland as CEO since 2013, navigating the organisation through significant change and recovery.
NAB Chairman-elect, Philip Chronican, has been interim CEO since March 2019, following the resignation of Andrew Thorburn after four and a half years as Chief Executive.
Chronican described the incoming CEO as “a senior, global financial services executive with deep experience in international markets and long-standing knowledge of the Australian banking environment”.
McEwan announced his resignation from RBS in April 2019 and will start with NAB once his obligations to his current employer have been discharged, which NAB said will be no later than April 2020.
At this time, the bank said he will be invited to join the NAB Board and that the appointment is subject to regulatory approvals.
“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.”
“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,” he said.
“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.”
McEwan was Group Executive for Retail Banking Services at Commonwealth Bank of Australia, where he had been for five years. He had previously been CBA’s Executive General Manager with responsibility for its branch network, contact centres and third-party mortgage brokers.
Commenting on his appointment, 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,” he added.
“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.”
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.