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RBS picks Alison Rose as new chief executive

Simon English
Tom Parkes

Royal Bank of Scotland appointed the first female chief executive in its history on Friday, when Alison Rose landed the job, fending off at least one other woman candidate in the process.

Rose’s appointment completes a meteoric rise from trainee to the top. She joined RBS 27 years ago, latterly working as deputy chief executive of NatWest, the retail and commercial banking arm.

Last year, RBS appointed Katie Murray as finance director, giving it two women at the helm of a gigantic bank that went bust during the financial crash of 2008. Rose was long regarded as the front-runner, beating other candidates said to include Alison Brittain, the chief executive of Whitbread, and HSBC’s Ian Stuart.

Rose, 49, said: “Our industry is facing a series of challenges: from the ongoing economic and political uncertainty to shifts in the behaviour and expectations of our customers, driven by rapid advances in technology.

“It will be my priority to make sure we are ready to meet these challenges and build the best bank for families, businesses and communities.”

She will be paid a basic salary of £1.1 million a year, slightly more than Ross McEwan who is heading off to run National Australia Bank.

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RBS shares today rose 5p to 213p, far below the 500p at which the bank was bailed out. Brexit pressures are weighing on all UK bank shares.

The Government last sold down some of its stake at 271p, seen as the minimum for any future sales.

Rose is the first woman to run one of the big high street banks. Debbie Crosbie recently began work as the boss of TSB.

Virgin Money was led by Jayne-Anne Gadhia until it was sold to CYBG.

Rose will report to chairman Sir Howard Davies who said he is “confident that we have appointed the best person for the job”

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