* Ewen Stevenson appointed finance director
* Stevenson had advised on RBS, Lloyds bailouts
* Ex-colleagues paint picture of 'no-nonsense New Zealander'
* Will work with CEO McEwan, restructuring boss Cullinan
(Adds investor comment, Credit Suisse appointments)
By Matt Scuffham and Chris Vellacott
LONDON, April 4 Royal Bank of Scotland
has poached Credit Suisse's Ewen Stevenson for its new
finance director, to help restore the health of the
part-nationalised bank which lost 8.2 billion pounds last year.
Stevenson was co-head of investment banking for Europe, the
Middle East and Africa at Credit Suisse and has never been a
finance director before. His other challenge at RBS will be to
prepare it for a stock market return after depending on state
RBS, once a small Scottish retail bank, briefly became the
world's biggest bank by assets following aggressive expansion
before its collapse led to a 45.8 billion pound ($76 billion)
government rescue, leaving taxpayers with an 81 percent stake.
Stevenson was on the team of Credit Suisse that advised the
British government on its bailouts of RBS and Lloyds
during the 2008/9 financial crisis.
That, said Bernstein Research analyst Chiran Barua "will
give him a head start as to the idiosyncrasies of the RBS
balance sheet and relation to its principal shareholder".
But one of RBS's institutional investors said he had doubts
about Stephenson's suitability for the post.
"Intuitively a non-accountant investment banker does not sit
quite right in that role," the investor told Reuters on Friday.
Stevenson will take up the role on May 19, filling the post
vacated by Nathan Bostock - who quit RBS last year to join rival
He will work with fellow New Zealander Ross McEwan, who
became chief executive of RBS last October and Rory Cullinan,
who heads up a division tasked with selling non-core assets such
as RBS's U.S. retail business Citizens.
Ex-colleagues of Stevenson described him as a "no-nonsense"
character, like McEwan, with an eye for detail and an appetite
for hard work. He is also said to be unafraid to convey bad news
and prepared to confront the reality of difficult situations.
Stephenson will need to maintain strong relationships with
officials at UK Financial Investments (UKFI), which manages the
government's stake in RBS, and Britain's Finance Ministry.
He will be able to build on an existing relationship with
UKFI Chief Executive James Leigh-Pemberton, a former Credit
Suisse colleague, who will have approved his appointment.
RBS is still three to five years away from being privatised,
according to banking and political sources, in contrast to
state-backed rival Lloyds Banking Group, which is
expected to be fully returned to private ownership by 2015.
McEwan is battling to revive the fortunes of RBS, which has
been plagued by past misconduct issues, and has pledged to turn
into the "best bank in the UK" rather than the biggest in the
world. He took over from Stephen Hester, who had already
overseen a massive restructuring and shed 900 billion pounds of
assets from the bank's balance sheet.
In an internal memo seen by Reuters, Credit Suisse said it
had appointed Alejandro Przygoda head of the global financial
institutions group (FIG) at its investment bank, to replace
Stevenson. Przygoda was previously co-head of global FIG
Switzerland's second-biggest bank has also appointed Mark
Echlin as co-head of its investment bank in Europe. He takes on
the position alongside his current role as co-head of Credit
Suisse's global industrials group.
Shares in RBS were down 0.2 percent to 316.3 pence at
1040GMT, meaning taxpayers are currently sitting on a loss of
over 17 billion pounds following the government bailout. Shares
in Credit Suisse were up 0.2 percent.
($1 = 0.6029 British Pounds)
(Editing by Sophie Walker)