NAB names new CEO

by Madison Utley19 Jul 2019

NAB has announced the appointment of its new group chief executive officer and managing director.

Ross McEwan has acted as the CEO of Royal Bank of Scotland since 2013, and is set to start with NAB once his obligations have been discharged, no later than April 2020. However, he will be invited to join the NAB board at this time.

McEwan, born in New Zealand, was described as “a senior, global financial services executive with deep experience in international markets and long-standing knowledge of the Australian banking environment” by NAB chairman-elect Philip Chronican.

The appointment means that Chronican will transition from interim CEO, a role that he has held since Andrew Thorburn resigned in March 2019, to the chairman position in mid-November 2019, replacing Dr Ken Henry.

Chronican highlighted McEwan’s experience of guiding a large institution through a similarly tumultuous period as is currently being experienced by Australia’s big four banks.  

He 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.”

Before joining RBS Group, McEwan was group executive for retail banking services at Commonwealth Bank of Australia for five years, following a stint as CBA’s executive GM with responsibility for its branch network, contact centres and third-party mortgage brokers.

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.”