RBS to rebrand as NatWest Group as CMO David Wheldon retires

Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) has confirmed it is to change its name to NatWest Group later this year as the financial institution seeks to bury a toxic history associated with the once well-regarded brand.

The nameplate swap comes amid a change in leadership with new chief executive Alison Rose seeking to give the bank a social conscious by announcing ‘climate positive’ targets and support for ethnic minority entrepreneurs.

In tandem with these changes, chief marketing officer David Wheldon, credited with spearheading efforts to bring more of the group’s media buying in-house, is set to retire, clearing the way for the fresh direction.

RBS insists the move is one of practicality, pointing out that over 80% of its customer base falls under the NatWest name but that existing RBS branches will continue to carry their existing branding.

Rose characterises the changes as the first steps towards forming a ‘purpose-led bank’, stating: “Today marks the start of a new era for our bank as we announce our new purpose - to champion potential, helping people, families and businesses to thrive.

“The way people live their lives has changed. And their expectations of companies are changing too; looking for us to deliver not only financial performance but a positive contribution to society; benefiting customers and communities as well as shareholders.”

In 2019 RBS heralded a return to health with profits of £3.1bn for the year, double the £1.6bn figure reported a year prior.

The UK government still holds a majority 62% stake in the business after being forced to bail the bank out to the tune of £45.5bn in 2008.

A new corporate identity has been on the cards for RBS since 2018 when the bank declared it would pursue a 'blank slate' approach to its future.