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Promotion for high flyer

Rose expected to be announced as RBS’s first female CEO

Alison Rose at Gogarburn AGM

Alison Rose has been at the bank for more than 20 years (pic: Terry Murden)

Royal Bank of Scotland has chosen Alison Rose to become its next chief executive, and the first woman to head the institution, according to sources in the City.

It is thought RBS will announce NatWest executive Ms Rose‎ as Ross McEwan’s successor, possibly as early as this week, according to Sky News, once clearance has been received from the regulators.

Ms Rose was first linked to the job in September 2017 and emerged as frontrunner when Mr McEwan announced in April that he would be stepping down. He has recently been appointed as CEO of National Australia Bank, a position he will take up next year.

RBS, which is still 62% owned by the taxpayer following its £45.5bn bailout during the financial crisis, has a female chief financial officer, Katie Murray, who was also thought to be a contender for the top job.

Ms Rose has worked at RBS for more than 20 years and joined the board of RBS private bank Coutts in October 2015. She became CEO of commercial and private banking and last December was promoted to deputy chief executive of NatWest Holdings, RBS’s non-ring-fenced bank.

Sir Howard Davies, chairman of RBS, said earlier this month that the search for Mr McEwan’s successor would include internal and external candidates.

If her appointment is confirmed Ms Rose will become the first woman to hold the top position at one of the big four high street banks – RBS, Lloyds, Barclays and HSBC – although Ana Patricia Botín was CEO of Santander UK, Britain’s fifth biggest bank. Baroness Vadera currently chairs Santander UK. Debbie Crosbie recently became chief executive of TSB, while Susan (now Lady) Rice was CEO of Lloyds TSB Scotland.

Ms Rose is also the author of the Rose Review, a government-commissioned inquiry into the barriers facing female entrepreneurs.

See also:

Let’s stop pretending RBS isn’t already a London-based bank




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