Stephen Hester will step down

RBS chief will leave later in the year.

Stephen Hester will step down later this year. Photograph: Getty Images

Stephen Hester, Royal Bank of Scotland CEO, is to step down. In a statement to the London Stock Exchange, the bank said that Hester would leave by the end of the year.

The statement read:

The board (of directors) believes that an orderly succession process will give a new CEO time to prepare the privatisation process and to lead the bank in the years that follow.

Stephen was unable to make that open-ended commitment following five years in the job already.

According to Sky News, Hester said:

We are now in a position where the Government can begin to prepare for privatising RBS.

While leading that process would be the end of an incredible chapter for me, ideally for the company it should be led by someone at the beginning of their journey.

I will therefore step down at the end of this year to allow a new CEO to lead the Group in this next stage.

His departure will come as a surprise, as Hester has repeatedly said he was keen to stay on at RBS for at least another two years. The board, chaired by Philip Hampton, is to start looking for a successor immediately.