Complaints of sexism have emerged after Natwest boss Dame Alison Rose was forced to resigned late last night after admitting she was the source for an inaccurate BBC report on Nigel Farage’s Coutts account closure.
Rose stepped down in the early hours of this morning after an extraordinary late-night board meeting – just hours after the bank’s chairman issued a statement offering her their full confidence.
Farage, former leader of the UKIP party, said her departure was “a start” but has now argued that the “whole board needs to go”.
But MPs and City grandees have come out to criticise what they say has been unfair treatment of the bank boss.
Labour’s shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves has spoken up for Rose in the face of what she called “bullying attitudes”.
Speaking in an interview with Channel 4 due to be broadcast tonight, Reeves said the Treasury should be focused on the cost of living crisis rather than “picking a fight with banks on behalf of Nigel Farage”,
“She’s the first female chief executive of Natwest. She took over at a time when that bank had real big problems. It seems to me that Alison Rose has done a good job turning that bank around,” Reeves said.
City bigwig Ann Francke accused the government of holding Rose to a double standard because she is a woman.
Francke, who held senior management positions at both Proctor & Gamble and Boots, and is now the boss of the Chartered Management Institute, said: “I believe we need to consider whether women in senior leadership positions are being held to a higher standard than their male counterparts – most notably when they make a high profile mistake.”
Francke said Rose has had “an entire career of strong, highly effective and fair leadership… undermined, not by what was clearly a serious error in judgement on her part, but by voices seemingly all too eager to make an example of one of this country’s highest profile female leaders”.
Francke added: “Did the senior male leaders in place at UK banks apologise and immediately resign over the PPI scandal that cost customers – and shareholders – hundreds of millions of pounds?”