Alison Rose gets top job at RBS, first woman to lead major UK lender

By Huw Jones and Iain Withers
A man uses a cashpoint machine outside a branch of the Royal Bank of Scotland in the City of London

By Huw Jones and Iain Withers

LONDON (Reuters) - Royal Bank of Scotland <RBS.L> named Alison Rose as its new chief executive on Friday, becoming the first major British lender to appoint a woman to its top job.

Rose, who was widely tipped to get the role at the state-backed lender, will succeed outgoing CEO Ross McEwan on November 1. He is due to join National Australia Bank <NAB.AX> as their next chief executive.

Rose has worked at the bank for 27 years and takes on the role at a pivotal time for the lender, as British banks prepare for the economic fallout if Britain leaves the European Union without a deal next month.

She will also be tasked with further patching up RBS's damaged reputation and trying to return the bank to private hands, more than a decade after its 45 billion pound state rescue in the financial crisis.

"Following a rigorous internal and external process, I am confident that we have appointed the best person for the job," RBS Chairman Howard Davies said in a statement.

Rose will receive a fixed base salary of 1.1 million pounds ($1.38 million) a year plus a fixed share allowance set at 100% of her salary. That's up slightly from McEwan who has a base pay of 1 million pounds a year, plus a 100% fixed share allowance.

RBS said Rose's pay package "continues to represent a restrained pay position in terms of comparable roles".

However Rose's pension will be set at 10% of her salary in line with other RBS employees, compared to McEwan who is receiving 350,000 pounds a year in pension funding.

British banks have been criticized by investors this year for giving their executives more favorable pension arrangements than the rest of their workforce.


TRAINEE TO CEO

Rose has risen through the RBS ranks from a trainee to deputy CEO of the lender's biggest business NatWest, as well as head of its commercial and private lending.

She also won plaudits for leading a government-commissioned review into the barriers holding back female entrepreneurs.

The appointment means RBS will be led by two women in its top executive roles, after Katie Murray was promoted to the chief financial officer role in January.

McEwan, who has led the bank since 2013, announced his decision to retire in April.

The British government has committed to fully privatizing RBS by 2024, but political and economic turmoil triggered by the Brexit vote has delayed further sales of the state's remaining 62% holding and thrown the timetable into doubt.


(Reporting by Huw Jones and Iain Withers; Editing by Rachel Armstrong and Andrew Heavens)