Ross Maxwell McEwan (born 16 July 1957) is a New Zealand banker, who has been the chief executive officer (CEO) of The Royal Bank of Scotland Group (RBS), a FTSE 100 company since 1 October 2013, succeeding Stephen Hester.
Early life and education:
McEwan was educated at Hastings Boys’ High School, Hastings, followed by Massey University, where he completed a degree in business studies and human resources, despite having failed an accountancy module twice.
McEwan’s first top management position was as Chief Executive of Axa New Zealand from 1996 to 2002. He had spent the previous ten years at National Mutual New Zealand, 51% acquired by Axa in 1995. McEwan was then appointed CEO of First NZ Securities, the stockbroking arm of First NZ Capital Securities, the New Zealand affiliate of Credit Suisse Group.
In 2003 McEwan was hired as group executive for retail banking services for the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA). He had been expected to become the next CEO of CBA, but was passed over for the post in 2011.
McEwan joined RBS in August 2012 as head of retail banking. He was appointed Chief Executive Officer in October 2013. It was expected that he would move the bank away from investment banking and reduce its international exposure, to focus more on UK retail banking.
In February–March 2014, McEwan attracted press coverage for his view that “free banking” (no current account charges for customers in credit) would have to end sooner or later, and that this would in turn lead to greater transparency from the banks about how they funded their operations.
On 25 February 2015, RBS announced that McEwan would forgo a share award worth £1m saying that he did not want his pay package to “be a distraction from the task of building a great bank”. He is still expected to be paid £2.7m despite turning down the award. The announcement came the day before the bank, which is 80% owned by the UK government, was due to release annual results widely expected to be disappointing following a series of fines by banking regulators for failures including for failing to stop manipulation of the foreign exchange market.