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Major bank appoints new CEO

A big four bank has announced the appointment of a new chief executive officer.

NAB has appointed Ross McEwan as its new group CEO and managing director.

Mr McEwan replaces interim CEO Phillip Chronican, who assumed the role following the resignation of Andrew Thorburn.

The new appointee joins NAB from the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), where he has served as CEO since 2013.

Mr McEwan announced his resignation from RBS in April 2019 and will commence his role with NAB once his contractual obligations with the RBS have been discharged, which is expected to be no later than April 2020. He will also be invited to join the NAB board at this time.


Mr McEwan’s appointment is subject to regulatory approvals.

Mr McEwan has also previously served at the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA), where he had been group executive for retail banking services 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, outgoing interim CEO and chairman-elect Mr Chronican said, “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.

“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.”

Reflecting on his appointment, Mr McEwan added: “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.”

Mr 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.

Mr Chronican has been interim CEO since March 2019, following the resignation of Andrew Thorburn after four and a half years as CEO.

Dr Henry indicated his intention in February to resign from the board once the permanent CEO was appointed. He joined the board as a director in 2011 and became chairman in 2015.

[Related: NAB makes $2bn lending commitment to tech companies]

Major bank appoints new CEO

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