The 61-year-old Kiwi, who has been at the helm for the past five-and-a-half years, handed in his notice this morning, although he will remain in place until a successor has been appointed.
City insiders have long speculated that Alison Rose is most likely to take over the reins following her promotion to deputy CEO of NatWest – the main banking unit – last year.
Should Rose get the top job, she would be RBS’s first female CEO, as well as the first woman to run a major UK bank.
Her appointment would also mark a record for the FTSE 100: there are currently six women in charge of blue-chip firms, but never in the index’s 35-year history has one of its constituents had women filling the top two executive roles.
With Katie Murray having recently taken full control of the group’s finances, RBS could become the first-ever FTSE 100 company with a female duo in charge.
JP Morgan Chase eyeing a female boss
Over in New York, JP Morgan Chase is reportedly set to be led by two women once current CEO Jamie Dimon steps down in four years’ time.
The bank’s British-born CFO, Marianne Lake, has been moved to head up the consumer lending business, which analysts reckon is in preparation for her eventual promotion to group CEO.
Not only would that make JP Morgan the first major US bank to be led by a woman, but the promotion of Jennifer Piepszak to CFO would also make it the only one to have females in the top two jobs.