The business on...Alison Davis, Director, Royal Bank of Scotland

Saturday 16 July 2011 00:00

Where's she come from, then?

Yet another graduate of that ubiquitous management consultancy McKinsey, she's acted as an adviser to a string of companies in America's Fortune 500. However, she has got her hands dirty at the coal face, as chief financial officer of Barclays Global Investors before becoming managing partner of Belvedere Capital, a private equity firm focusing on financial services buyouts.

And these days?

Picking up directorships of big companies seemingly for fun, although there's some worthy stuff on her CV as well, such as chairing the Governing Board of the Women's Initiative for Self Employment. A bit of a mouthful, it's true, but what it actually does is help micro businesses in the US.

So she won't be troubled by the FSA's "intrusive" interviews for bank directors?

The watchdog is unlikely to have much cause for complaint. She will also bring the number of female non-execs at RBS to three, which is no bad thing, being appointed alongside former Bank of England director Sheila Noakes – though it should be noted that, as in most other banks, the top execs are white, middle-aged males.

What's she like?

Another of those City superwomen. Five minutes in her company would probably exhaust anyone other than an Olympic athlete. As well as having a bunch of prestigious employers, she's got all the requisite institutions on her CV (Cambridge, Havard Business School, Stanford Graduate School of Business). She's also somehow found the time to have five children. She took just four weeks of maternity leave with the first, before heading back to McKinsey.

Give me a second to catch my breath, would you?

Oh come on, keep up. She is at least honest enough to admit that it helps when you can afford to hire full-time, live-in nannies (her husband's a fellow McKinseyite). And, in addition to their plush California pad, they do have a chateau in France where they can chill out and recover from the stresses of modern life. They didn't want the kids to miss out on their European heritage, poor lambs.

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