Executive shake-up

London start for Rose as new RBS CEO unveils team changes

Alison Rose

New boss: Alison Rose takes over today (pic: Terry Murden)

Alison Rose chose to begin her tenure as chief executive of the Royal Bank of Scotland in its London office and announced a shake-up of her management team.

Britain’s first female CEO of a top four bank has written to all staff saying she wants “to build a bank that is more open, more accessible and more inclusive”. She is promising to unveil an “ambitious plan for the future” in the new year.

Ms Rose, who succeeds Ross McEwan today, made no specific references to strategy or the government’s intentions towards the taxpayers’ shareholding.

However, she did say 2020 will be a “big year” for the bank.

“With a defining period for the banking sector ahead of us, we will deliver a dynamic, confident response to the challenges we face,” she said.

She announced a number of changes to the Executive Committee:

  • Paul Thwaite is appointed CEO for Commercial Banking and Peter Flavel is confirmed as CEO for Private Banking. Commercial & Private Banking will cease to exist as one business area
  • Olly Holbourn is already working closely with Ms Ross on forward plans.  He will now add Purpose, Sustainability and Ventures to his responsibilities as Director of Strategy. 
  • Rob Whittick is appointed Director of the Office of the Chief Executive.

In her letter, Ms Rose said that at the heart of how she will run the bank is her conviction that “if our customers do well, if our economy does well and if our communities do well, then we all succeed together.”

She said: “We have the potential to make a real difference to people’s lives and I will be looking for everyone to focus their efforts on what we are here to do – helping people, families and businesses achieve their goals.

“Shared success also means playing our part to help tackle the problems that can hold the country back, like the threat from climate change, a lack of financial confidence and barriers to enterprise and growth. These pillars will form part of our strategy. 

“Simplifying what we do and making bold choices about how we deliver for customers, will also be part of an ambitious plan for the future that I will share in the New Year.

Ms Rose said she wants to build a bank that is more open, more accessible and more inclusive. “One that is truly representative of the communities we support. 

“I also want to embed a culture of continuous learning, where personal development is second nature and where we have the skills and the mind-sets needed to compete and thrive in the digital economy.”

She added: “As well as inclusion, learning and development, I want to build a stronger dialogue with you.  You know our customers best and you have ideas for how to improve what we do.

“I want to hear that feedback so starting today at the town hall in London, you can expect to hear about some new ways we will do that, with more to follow in the days and weeks ahead. I look forward to getting your input.

“With a defining period for the banking sector ahead of us, we will deliver a dynamic, confident response to the challenges we face, and build a purposeful bank that is trusted by its customers, plays its part in society and delivers for its investors. 

“Momentum is a powerful thing in business, and I want us to enter 2020 ready for a big year, so let’s focus on being better every day, both individually and collectively. Let’s aim to exceed our objectives for the year and show our stakeholders what a great team we are.”

See also

Rose unveils payments deal in first move as new RBS boss

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