RBS boss vows to challenge ‘too white and male’ boarrooms

Ross McEwan, chief executive of RBS, Picture: Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images
Ross McEwan, chief executive of RBS, Picture: Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images
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The chief executive of Royal Bank of Scotland has pledged to help tackle a lack of diversity in British boardrooms by combating a “too white and too male” culture.

Ross McEwan said the bank, 72% owned by the taxpayer, has made strides in promoting women into senior roles but admitted it still has work to do in ethnic diversity.

“We’ve set ourselves the target of having initially 30% of our top 700 executives as females by the end of 2020.

“We actually reached that target last year, so have changed the target to make it more difficult.

“Ethnicity, I think, is a big issue for this organisation.

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“We need to be reflecting the types of people our customers are.

“Too white and too male is something that we’re now starting to concentrate on.

“I think it’s beyond the male and female and I think there are a lot of other areas that we should be thinking about as well,” Mr McEwan told BBC Radio Scotland.

His comments come in the same week data from Green Park showed 58% of FTSE 100 boardrooms still have no ethnic minority representation.

It follows the Government-backed Parker Review, which found “disproportionately” low levels of diversity across UK boardrooms.

The review, which was released in November last year, subsequently recommended one director of colour be appointed to each FTSE 100 company by 2021, and to each FTSE 250 board by 2024.

Similar recommendations on gender-based recruitment were made by the Davies review in 2015, saying women should make up a third of every FTSE 100 boardroom by 2020.

Mr McEwan added that RBS is working with interest groups to make changes and will publish statistics on gender pay in September.

“Really what you look at, job for job with the experience, are the people being paid the same?

“That’s what I’m interested in and that’s what we review on an annual basis.

“Are people doing the same job getting the same pay, as opposed to how many females have I got in more clerically oriented roles versus people in management?”

He said the bank now wants 30% female representation in every part of the business, particularly in areas such as NatWest markets, where it has “been pretty male dominated”.

“Now we’ve said we want 30% in every part, which overall will give us 40% by 2020, that’s what we’re targeting,” the chief executive added.