Arguably more important is the announcement that Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) has appointed New Zealander Ross McEwan as its new CEO. He has now been working at the bank for a year, following his original appointment as head of the retail arm. He will officially take over from Stephen Hester in October, after which he will set about trying to maintain the profitability of the firm while at the same time continuing to streamline the business in preparation for the government refloating it. As the firm has such close scrutiny from the government, Mr McEwan has been seen as potentially a more politically acceptable choice. Prior to joining the bank he worked at the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, so he does not have any of the UK banking history to tarnish his name. He will also receive a £1 million salary and no bonus for 2013 or 2014, and by the standards of FTSE 100 CEOs this is a relatively poor level of remuneration.
This week’s news has been very positive for the government, as both its banks have made progress to place themselves in a more attractive light to investors. Even with this development, it is still almost certain that Lloyds will be sold off first, long before RBS.