RBS finance chief's exit gives CEO another headache

Wed Dec 11, 2013 8:50am EST
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By Matt Scuffham and Steve Slater

LONDON (Reuters) - Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS.L: Quote) chief Ross McEwan faced a fresh management headache on Wednesday as the surprise departure of Finance Director Nathan Bostock created a senior vacancy as the group attempts to navigate through a period of upheaval.

Bostock, 52, has quit to rejoin Spain's Santander (SAN.MC: Quote) after just 10 weeks in the job, dealing a blow to McEwan's efforts to turn around the state-owned lender and adding the appointment of a new CFO to his lengthy "to do" list.

McEwan has endured a rocky start since taking up the role of RBS chief executive in October, undermining his attempts to create a new customer-focused culture.

"The ... departure is a major inconvenience," one of RBS's biggest 40 shareholders told Reuters. "Recruiting senior people is a complicated and time-consuming process and to go through that, only to lose the hire within a matter of months, must be very disappointing."

RBS shares were the top fallers in a flat FTSE 100 .FTSE, down 2.7 percent by midday. Santander was up 0.4 percent.

Having been accused last month of closing down ailing small businesses too quickly in order to grab their assets, RBS faced more damaging publicity earlier this month when over a million customers were left without services by a computer failure.

The bank has appointed lawyers to study the small business allegations and admitted neglecting its IT systems for decades.

RBS was also one of several banks subjected to multi-million pound fines by European regulators following an investigation into the rigging of benchmark interest rates.   Continued...

A woman stands in front of a Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) cash machine, in central London December 3, 2013. REUTERS/Luke MacGregor