Two internal candidates vying for top job at Royal Bank of Scotland

Royal Bank of Scotland is considering two internal candidates to be the lender’s next chief executive, outgoing boss Ross McEwan has revealed.

The New Zealander, who announced weeks ago that he is to step down from the state-backed bank, told a radio programme that alongside favourite Alison Rose, another candidate has now thrown their hat into the ring.

“A decision for the board and the chairman of the board that’s got a process looking at internal candidates who I think are excellent.

“Alison, and we’ve got another internal candidate which we’re delighted that they’ve put their hand up and said that they want the job. And that has to be assessed against the external candidates,” he told LBC on Friday morning.

In April, Mr McEwan resigned after more than five-and-a-half years at the helm, saying it is the “right time” to step down.

RBS chief comments
RBS chief comments

Ms Rose, who was recently promoted to deputy chief executive of NatWest Holdings, is seen as the leading internal candidate to take over from Mr McEwan.

She has worked at RBS for more than 26 years and her appointment late last year sparked intense speculation she is being lined up as a successor to Mr McEwan.

But this is the first time that news of a rival candidate from within the bank has surfaced.

Mr McEwan said that he hopes a new chief can take the bank to the “next phase”, adding that the bank is in a “great position” from a financial perspective.

He admitted that the lender is not where it should be in terms of customer service, but insisted that this will improve “over the next 3 to 5 years”.

Mr McEwan took up the post in October 2013 and has led the bank through testing times, having been left largely in the hands of the state after a mammoth £45 billion taxpayer bailout amid the financial crisis.

It was more than 80% owned by the Government at one stage, but the taxpayer’s stake has since reduced to 62.4%.

Mr McEwan has presided over a return to profit at RBS, with the 61-year-old seeing the lender report its second successive year in the black for 2018 and announcing a £1.6 billion final dividend, resulting in a near £1 billion windfall for the taxpayer.