The Royal Bank of Scotland's new management has completed the clearing out of the executive members of the board who presided over the takeover of Dutch rival ABN Amro and the subsequent near-collapse of the Edinburgh-based bank last year, by naming a replacement for Gordon Pell, who will retire next year on an annual pension of at least £500,000.
Pell, 59, had been asked to stay on by new chief executive Stephen Hester, who succeeded Sir Fred Goodwin as RBS chief executive last November, shortly after the government was forced to bail out RBS with £20 billion.
Brian Hartzer, who is currently a senior executive at the Australasian bank ANZ, is to join RBS in order to take on Pell's duties as head of its retail banking and wealth management businesses.
Hartzer will join the bank's executive committee rather than the main board, and his appointment completes the line-up of fresh RBS faces. All nine members of the committee have been appointed in the past 12 months, seven of them since October, when the bank was rescued by the taxpayer.
The main board has also been overhauled. Pell is the last of the executive team who worked for former chief executive Sir Fred Goodwin to leave. Also gone are former chairman Sir Tom McKillop; Johnny Cameron, who used to run the troubled global markets arm; and Mark Fisher, an integration expert who has left for Lloyds Banking Group.
The departure of finance director Guy Whittaker, for whom a replacement is being sought, was announced this week. Seven non-executive directors have also departed this year.
A 42-year-old joint US and Australian citizen credited with turning around parts of the Australia and New Zealand bank, Hartzer is regarded as Hester's heir apparent (See: ANZ CEO quits in surprise move).
Hartzer is a crucial hire for Hester. A Princeton graduate, he is thought to have been introduced to the bank by John MacFarlane, the former head of ANZ, who joined the RBS board as non-executive director in October. Hartzer had been expected to succeed MacFarlane when he retired from ANZ but he was pipped to the post by an internal rival, Mike Smith.
Hartzer's pay does not need to be disclosed as he is not joining the main board but last year he received A$3.5 million (£1.7 million) from ANZ.
Hester said the new appointments meant that he had "assembled the tools to do the job", but warned that he expected RBS's recovery to take as long as five years. He added, "The journey to standalone strength is a three-to five-year one, with tough restructuring to execute against an inclement economic backdrop."
Hester is keen to draw a line under the controversies that have dogged RBS in recent months, but may be hampered by continuing protests over the rewards granted to executives perceived to have played a role in the bank's downfall.
Pell is expected to retire on a pension worth just over £500,000 a year, not far off the £700,000 deal granted to Sir Fred, which provoked fury when it emerged earlier this year. Larry Fish, meanwhile, remains in the US, drawing a £1.4 million annual pension from RBS.
Johnny Cameron, who is taking a pension of £62,000 a year from RBS, has also been the target of some criticism, with the Financial Services Authority, the chief London watchdog, last month questioning his suitability to join the investment banking firm Greenhill. Talks between the two parties reportedly ended after the FSA's intervention.
Sir Tom McKillop has also continued to attract awkward headlines since leaving RBS, having last month been forced to say he would not seek re-election as a non-executive director of the oil giant BP after protests against him there.