Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC (LON:RBS) has announced the surprise resignation of its chief financial officer, Ewen Stevenson on the day its shareholders gather for the bank’s annual general meeting.
In a short statement, the FTSE 100-listed lender said Stevenson has resigned from his role as CFO and an executive director “to take up an opportunity elsewhere.”
RBS added: “ The effective date of his departure will be confirmed in due course but he will remain in his position to oversee an orderly handover of his responsibilities. The search for a successor will commence immediately.”
The bank’s chief executive Ross McEwan said: "For the past four years Ewen has worked tirelessly with me and my executive team to make RBS a much simpler, safer and more customer focussed business and to resolve a number of major legacy challenges.”
In mid-morning trading, RBS shares were 1.7% lower at 275.3p.
The news comes on the day RBS is likely to face questions over the timing of resuming dividend payments and on could reports the UK taxpayers multi-billion pound stake in the lender could start to be sold off again sold as early as this week.
Media reports on Tuesday said aid that banks have been placed on high alert as government ministers kick off a process to reduce the taxpayer's 70.5% stake in RBS.
Meanwhile, the state-owned lender is reportedly considering asking shareholders for permission to restart dividends after making progress in resolving legacy issues and returning to an annual profit for the first time in a decade.
The group has been banned from paying dividends since its £45.5bn taxpayer bailout 10 years ago during the financial crisis.
Past misconduct has weighed on the bank’s shares and earnings, preventing RBS from resuming dividends. But in May the group made headway in putting its legacy issues behind it after agreeing a US$4.9bn settlement with the US Department of Justice to end an investigation into the sale of mortgage-backed securities.
RBS has also made progress in its turnaround plan, swinging to a profit of £752mln in 2017 after nine years of losses.
David Cheetham, chief market analysts at XTB.com commented: “The market has dropped lower once more today to hit a 3-week low and hand back all the gains seen after the DOJ settlement and given that a large seller is now waiting in the wings it appears that the stock’s upside is limited for the foreseeable future.”
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