She is one of the most senior bankers in the UK and is tipped to become the next head of RBS.

Now Alison Rose is determined that many other young women will follow in her footsteps and reach the top of their professions.

As chief executive of RBS’s commercial and private banking arm, Ms Rose is making it her mission to change the male-dominated banking profession that she joined more than 20 years ago.

When she attended her first meeting as a senior RBS executive, she was the only woman in the boardroom.

Now, one-third of the top 800 posts are held by women, but Ms Rose wants to go further and hopes that she is the ideal role model for young females to look up to.

She said: “We have made great strides but there is still a long way to go. 
“I do see myself as a positive role model and I hope that young women will aspire to reach the top. 

“I think that I am someone that can be looked up to.”

Ms Rose is widely-tipped to replace current chief executive Ross McEwan when he steps down, which is expected to be in 2022.

She refuses to be drawn on her potential succession as her total focus is on encouraging women at all levels of business, especially those looking to set up and run their own companies.

Ms Rose said: “We currently have a very good CEO and I’m happy to be working for him.”

But she does acknowledge the seismic change that would be sent out if she were to become the first female head of a major high street bank in the UK.

For her, it would send out the best possible message to the 600,000 extra women she wants to help set up their own business by 2030.

Currently, just one in three entrepreneurs is female, while in some other European countries the rate is more than 40 per cent.

It is a situation that she is desperate to change and hopes her report will lead to a dramatic increase in female businesswomen.

She said: “The review has proved what we all expected that the unrealised potential for the UK economy caused by the disparity between male and female entrepreneurs is considerable.

“The scale of the ambition is considerable and in my view we now have our North Star to aim for, a 50% increase in female entrepreneurs.

“That will act as a guide to joined up action across public and private sector”.

Women make up more than half the population in Britain, but just one in five businesses is female-run, a figure recently described as “shocking” by Robert Jenrick, exchequer secretary to the Treasury.

Research suggests one in eight working women would like to start a business but the Entrepreneurs Network reports that just nine per cent of funding for UK start-ups goes to women, and that men are 86 per cent more likely to be funded by venture capital. 

With Ms Rose’s encouragement, RBS has created a network of 12 NatWest Entrepreneur Accelerator hubs around the country.

These are where would-be entrepreneurs can get help with the nuts and bolts of finding start-up funds and writing business plans from a team of women advisers.

The Treasury review is her first foray into the public realm for Ms Rose, who has two children – a daughter, 15, and son, 10.

She said: “It’s a big responsibility but it’s something I feel passionately about

“The most important thing to remember is that it’s never perfect. 

“Even when you’ve got support and you’re very organised, things always go wrong. It is a juggling, balancing and complicated act.”

She joined National Westminster Bank as a trainee in 1992 after graduating from Durham University

By the time RBS took over NatWest in 2000, Ms Rose was working her way through a series of jobs in the investment banking division, which ultimately put her in charge of leveraged finance in the UK and Europe.

She helped restructure the balance sheet in the aftermath of the financial implosion and in 2014 took over commercial and private banking, which now accounts for nearly half of assets at the group.

She refused to be drawn on the bank’s major challenges in the coming months, particularly with Brexit.

The bank has already relocated some jobs to Amsterdam in case of a no-deal exit.

Ms Rose admits that while RBS has restored some of its badly tarnished reputation there is still some way to go.

She said: “It’s been a very difficult time but we are working hard to restore it by trying to improve things for customers. I believe we have made a lot of progress in improving things, but we are not complacent.”

And it seems she sees it as her responsibility to inspire others too.

One major area that needs to be addressed, according to Ms Rose, is getting girls exposed to female entrepreneurs and get them interested in Stem subjects which offer the highest growth for businesses.

RBS is now going to increase engagement in schools by rolling-out a groundbreaking pilot scheme that focuses on entrepreneurship, financial literacy and self-belief. 

Ms Rose said: “There are not enough women in high-growth fields and that is also holding many back. 

“By going into schools then we can provide young girls with a role model they need to aspire too. By the time they get to college it is normally too late.

“There are real and practical steps that can and will be taken. Maintaining the status quo is not an option.”