Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) will cut 2,000 jobs in its investment division as it is revealed chief executive Stephen Hester is to step down at the end of the year.

The cuts will occur over the next 18 months with some happening in the UK, although the majority are expected to be in Asia and other international operations.

RBS revealed last month that 1,400 jobs were to be cut at its retail banking head office.

Since the banking crisis in 2008, 41,000 jobs have been cut.

Hester, who has been at RBS for five years, is reportedly leaving after the RBS board decided they wanted someone to take the bank through privatisation.

"We are now in a position where the Government can begin to prepare for privatising RBS. While leading that process would be the end of an incredible chapter for me, ideally for the company it should be led by someone at the beginning of their journey," Hester said in statement on the RBS website.

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On his departure, he will receive £1.6m representing 12 months pay and benefits.

A search has already begun for his successor, with Hester remaining in his role until December.

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