Royal Bank of Scotland tipped to appoint first female chief executive, with Ross McEwan linked to Australian job

William Turvill
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Ross McEwan, chief executive of RBS since 2013, has been linked with a move to Commonwealth Bank of Australia (Source: Getty)

Royal Bank of Scotland has been tipped to appoint its first female chief executive to succeed Ross McEwan.

Current boss McEwan has been widely linked with a move to become chief executive of Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA), with headhunters seeking a replacement for Ian Narev.

With Narev due to step down next June, RBS could be on the hunt for a new chief executive within a year. However, sources close to the company have played down the chances of McEwan leaving at this stage.

The Sunday Times today reports that Alison Rose, currently head of commercial and private banking, is seen as the internal favourite to replace McEwan, citing sources close to the lender.

Other contenders could include head of personal banking Les Matheson and finance chief Ewen Stevenson.

Goodbody banking analyst John Cronin said: "While Alison Rose certainly sounds like a credible contender for the CEO position at RBS, it seems to me to be premature for the rumour mill to come into play.

"While Mr McEwan has been linked with the CEO vacancy at CBA it is still just speculation at this juncture as to whether he will go.

"Nonetheless, it makes sense for interested parties to ensure that shareholders are comfortable that a suitable replacement can easily be secured in the event that McEwan were to depart."

McEwan became chief executive of RBS in October 2013. He joined the bank from CBA, where he was group executive for retail banking for five years, in 2012.

RBS declined to comment.

Read more: DEBATE: RBS is back in profit – should government sell more of its stake?

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