LONDON. Britain’s bailed-out Royal Bank of Scotland on Friday appointed long-serving banker Alison Rose as chief executive, making her the first female boss of a major UK lender.
Rose, currently deputy head of the group’s NatWest Holdings retail business and its commercial and private banking division, will replace Ross McEwan on November 1, the company said in a statement.
She will become the only woman to have lead one of Britain’s so-called “Big Four” banks that comprise Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds Banking Group and RBS.
The incoming CEO, an advocate of gender equality in business, has risen to the top in a traditionally male-dominated arena after working for 27 years at Edinburgh-based RBS.
“She brings extensive experience and a track record of success from her previous roles at the bank,” said RBS chairman Howard Davies.
Rose will assume the helm just one day after Britain is scheduled to leave the European Union — with or without a divorce deal.
She also takes the reins amid global turmoil surrounding the US-China trade war and faltering economic growth.
“This is an exciting time as we enter a new chapter for this bank,” Rose noted in the statement.
“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.”
The new boss will be paid a base annual salary of £1.1 million (Dh5.04 million, $1.4 million).
McEwan steps down on October 31 after holding the top job since 2013, having steered it through a steady recovery following a government bailout during the 2008 global financial crisis.
RBS is still 62-percent owned by the government after receiving the world’s biggest banking bailout during the notorious crisis.
McEwan oversaw a massive overhaul of operations, slashing the lender’s investment banking activities and axing tens of thousands of jobs.
In total, RBS has suffered net losses of about £60 billion since the state rescue.
The New Zealander is leaving RBS to become chief executive at National Australia Bank.
In Friday morning deals, RBS shares gained 1.6 per cent to 211.40 pence on London’s benchmark FTSE 100 index, which was 0.3 per cent lower.