Royal Bank of Scotland to appoint Ross McEwan as CEO

Royal Bank of Scotland is looking to appoint its former head of retail banking, Ross McEwan, as the new chief executive, CNBC understands. McEwan will take the place of ousted CEO Stephen Hester.

McEwan is the preferred choice for the head leadership position, although the selection has yet to be approved by regulators at the Bank of England's Prudential Regulation Authority.

If approved, his appointment announcement could be made as early as Thursday or Friday, alongside second-quarter results, the Financial Times reported.

If McEwan's selection falls through, the bank's current finance director, Bruce van Saun, will be the fall-back candidate, the paper added.

A recent arrival to Britain, critics of McEwan note his few regulatory and political contacts, and with his empty phone book it may prove to be a challenge for the New Zealander to steer RBS in the months following his appointment.

But, its his experience in retail banking that is being seen as key as RBS seeks to move away from investment banking operations and further develop its retail franchise.

-- CNBC's Helia Ebrahimi contributed reporting to this story.