RBS boss admits 'trepidation' as he starts new job

Ross McEwan says his predecessor Stephen Hester left with "a very big smile on his face"

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Royal Bank of Scotland's new chief executive, Ross McEwan, has admitted "a high level of trepidation" as he steps into the helm.

"I take the job on with a high level of trepidation, slight levels of fear but absolute delight," he said in a speech to staff on his first day in the top job.

Mr McEwan said it was "an absolute thrill" to take on the new role.

"It's one of those 'wow' experiences," he added.

Mr McEwan said he planned to refocus the bank on customer service, vowing to make it the best in the UK.

"We exist because of the customers we serve and we should never forget that. Our job is to serve our customers. Without our customers we are nothing as a business."

He also said the bank needed to repay taxpayers for their faith in the firm.

UK taxpayers still own 81% of RBS after it was bailed out for £45bn in 2008 at the height of the financial crisis.

Mr McEwan stressed that its tax-payer funded bailout meant the bank had to live up to a higher standard than any other UK bank.

"We should never forget that obligation," he added.

Mr McEwan has taken over the reins from former chief executive Stephen Hester.

The 56 year-old is originally from New Zealand and previously headed the bank's retail arm.

He will be paid a £1m annual salary for the role.

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