SHE is the first woman to lead one of the UK's big four banks after being appointed as new chief executive of RBS.

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

Ms Rose has previously said it is her mission to change the male-ominated banking profession that she joined 27 years ago as a graduate trainee.

Ms Rose, who joined the bank 27 years ago as a graduate trainee, will replace the incumbent Ross McEwan in November.

She will be paid more than her predecessor, with her annual salary set at £1.1m compared with Mr McEwan's £1m.

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."

Other lenders have been led by women. Ana Botin was formerly in charge of Santander UK, while Dame Jayne-Anne Gadhia was chief executive of Virgin Money before it was sold to CYBG last year.

However, Ms Rose is the only woman so far to lead one of the UK's four biggest banks, which are RBS, Lloyds Banking Group, Barclays and HSBC.

Ms Rose does acknowledge the seismic change that will be sent out after becoming the first female head of a major high street bank in the UK.

For her, it sends 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 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.

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.

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 refuses 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.

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.”