The Daily Telegraph reports that McEwan, who was previously the bank's retail boss, succeeds Stephen Hester, who led the bank for five turbulent years following the departure of his disgraced predecessor Fred Goodwin.
McEwan will be paid £1m a year plus £350,000 in lieu of a pension.
He takes the reins at a time when RBS is providing key endorsement for the Government's Help to Buy housing mortgage guarantee scheme, which is being brought forward despite concerns it may stoke a housing bubble.
He has been at the bank since August 2012 joining from Commonwealth Bank of Australia, where he was group executive for retail banking services for five years.
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