Mr McEwan will remain in place at RBS until a successor has been appointed, the bank said, with chairman Howard Davies adding: “We... congratulate him on this appointment. The search for a successor remains ongoing and the effective date of Ross’ departure will be confirmed in due course.”
Since he took over RBS in October 2013 he has returned it to profit and begun paying investors, including the British government, a dividend.
However the bank is still 62% owned by the taxpayer and its share price is down 33% since he took charge, though some of that fall reflects the drop in sterling since the 2016 Brexit referendum.
As he announced his exit from RBS, analysts raised questions over the timing of the departure, just months before Britain is scheduled to leave the European Union and with dark clouds looming over the British housing market.
The bank is also still trying to restore its public image after a series of financial crisis-era scandals, including alleged mistreatment of troubled business borrowers by its Global Restructuring Group.
Mr McEwan had already announced in April he would leave RBS within a year, though his exit is likely to add to pressure on the bank to announce his replacement.
Alison Rose, who runs RBS’s commercial arm, is seen as the favourite to take over, but RBS chairman Howard Davies said in April the bank would consider external as well as internal candidates.
“The search for a successor remains ongoing and the effective date of Ross’ departure will be confirmed in due course,” Davies said in a brief statement on Friday.
National Australia Bank is the former owner of Yorkshire Bank.