The City welcomed the appointment of Ewen Stevenson as Royal Bank of Scotland’s new finance director yesterday but warned that he faces a tough task returning the lender to private ownership.
Mr Stevenson will join RBS from Credit Suisse next month, filling a void created by the defection of Nathan Bostock to Santander in December after just 10 weeks in the job.
Raised and educated in New Zealand, Mr Stevenson was part of the Credit Suisse team which advised the Treasury on the bailout of RBS, Lloyds Banking Group and Northern Rock.
Shares in the company, which plans to shut 44 branches across the country, rose 1.4p to 318.3p as analysts digested the news.
“It’s a perfectly good appointment – but Ewen has a long, hard struggle ahead,” Ian Gordon, an analyst at Investec, said.
Gary Greenwood, an analyst at Shore Capital, added: “We view this as positive news as it removes uncertainty around the position and should therefore enhance investor confidence … The fact that it is an external appointment also helps to deflect concerns that the company is struggling to attract talent owing to its relatively onerous ownership and governance situation.”
Mr McEwan said Mr Stevenson “shares our vision for building a great customer bank and I look forward to working with him”.
Meanwhile one of the Square Mile’s top bankers is taking a break – less than two years after ascending to the heights of head of merger and acquisitions at Standard Chartered. Andrew Suckling, who has been with the emerging markets-focused bank for six years in total, is taking a “sabbatical”.
The move sparked speculation that it could lead to a wider restructuring of the top team.
Standard Chartered cut its bonus pool last year by 15 per cent after reporting its first fall in yearly profits in a decade.
Once a byword for stability, it has also been in the throes of a shake-out since the beginning of the year, with its finance chief Richard Meddings making a surprise departure.
The bank was unavailable for comment.