By Ambereen Choudhury
By Ambereen Choudhury
LONDON – Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC, Britain’s biggest government-owned lender, hired Ewen Stevenson from Credit Suisse Group AG as chief financial officer.
Stevenson, 47, co-head of Credit Suisse’s investment bank in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, will take up his role on May 19, Edinburgh-based RBS said in a statement today. Credit Suisse will replace Stevenson as co-head with industrials banker Mark Echlin, 50, the Zurich-based bank said in a separate memo to employees.
“The fact that Ewen has been co-head of global financials and co-head of Europe creates the width of experience that the CFO at RBS needs,” said Chirantan Barua, analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein Ltd. in London who rates RBS an outperform. That “goes from dealing with regulators and litigation at risk in the U.S. to wide-ranging discussions in Europe across clients and regulators.”
Stevenson replaces Nathan Bostock, who resigned in December after two months in the job to become deputy CEO of Banco Santander SA’s U.K. division. Bostock had replaced Bruce Van Saun, now head of RBS’s Citizens Financial Group Inc. unit in the U.S., which last week failed the Federal Reserve’s stress test. Ross McEwan, originally from New Zealand, succeeded Stephen Hester, a former head of fixed income at Credit Suisse, as CEO of RBS in October.
“Ewen has spent many years working with the world’s leading banks,” McEwan said in the statement. “In recent years he has been a trusted adviser to both governments and company boards on the steps needed to restore confidence in financial institutions following the crisis.”
RBS shares rose 0.5 percent to 318.50 pence at 10:04 a.m. in London trading today.
More than five years after receiving the biggest banking bailout in history, RBS is struggling to return to profit. The lender in February posted its biggest full-year loss since its bailout as it logged more than 12 billion pounds ($20 billion) in charges for souring loans, customer compensation and legal costs. McEwan, who took over in October, is trying to revive earnings by combining divisions, shrinking the investment bank and cutting jobs.
“It’s a perfectly good appointment, though Ewen faces a long and hard struggle ahead,” said Ian Gordon, an analyst at Investec Ltd. who rates RBS a hold.
Stevenson was born in the U.K. and was raised and educated in New Zealand. He holds a bachelor’s of commerce and administration and a bachelor’s of laws. Besides the co-head role at Credit Suisse he shares with Marisa Drew, Stevenson also ran the global financial institutions group, which advises clients in the financial-services industry.
Credit Suisse said Alejandro Przygoda will replace Stevenson as head of the global financial institutions group based in New York.