The Royal Bank of Scotland has appointed Alison Rose as its new chief executive officer.

Ms Rose was the heavy favourite to succeed Ross McEwan as boss of the publicly-owned bank when he departs from the company on October 31.

She is currently the bank’s chief executive of its commercial and private banking arm, as well as deputy CEO of Natwest Holdings.

The appointment will make RBS the only company in the FTSE 100 index with women in its top two executive positions, joining chief financial officer Katie Murray.

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Ms Rose told investors it is an “exciting new chapter” for the bank as it faces “economic and political uncertainty” as well as changing consumer behaviour.

Her appointment comes after Mr McEwan led a lengthy turnaround of the business in his five-and-a-half-year tenure as chief.

Mr McEwan announced his departure plans in April and is set to take over as chief executive of National Australia Bank.

Ms Rose said: “It is a huge honour to have been appointed as the new CEO of RBS and I am looking forward to getting started.

“As one of the oldest and most important financial institutions in the UK, we have a key role to play in supporting the economy and championing the potential that exists across the country.”

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Howard Davies, chairman of RBS, said: “I am delighted that we have appointed Alison as our new CEO. She brings extensive experience and a track record of success from her previous roles at the bank.

“Following a rigorous internal and external process, I am confident that we have appointed the best person for the job.

“I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Ross, on behalf of the board, for his leadership and commitment during his time as CEO and wish him the very best for the future.

“Ross leaves a strong platform for his successor – a bank that has refocused on its core markets in the UK and Ireland and resolved all its major legacy issues, while returning to profitability and paying dividends.”