* Bank appoints interim CFO to permanent role
* Murray is first female RBS finance chief
* Predecessor left in September for HSBC (Adds company confirmation, pay detail)
By Lawrence White
LONDON, Dec 18 (Reuters) - Royal Bank of Scotland has appointed Katie Murray as chief financial officer, the bank said on Tuesday, making permanent a role she has held on an interim basis since August.
Murray will become the first woman to hold the finance chief post at RBS when she takes up the job on Jan. 1.
Her appointment comes at a time when RBS is in its healthiest state since the 2008 financial crisis, having undegone a decade-long restructuring that saw it shrink from a failed international expansion to focus on Britain.
That change of focus, however, leaves RBS more exposed than rivals such as Barclays and HSBC to the risks of a potential sharp economic slowdown when Britain leaves the European Union in March.
Murray’s earlier appointment as interim CFO followed the departure of Ewen Stevenson, who left in September to take up the same role at HSBC.
Another female executive, Alison Rose, is widely tipped to take over as RBS chief executive after being promoted last month to deputy CEO of its main retail banking unit.
Murray will be paid a base salary of 750,000 pounds ($947,550) a year, the bank said, with a fixed share allowance of the same amount.
Her predecessor Stevenson was paid a salary of 800,000 pounds by the end of his tenure and the same amount in a fixed share allowance, according to the bank’s annual report.
RBS shares were up 1 percent by 1511 GMT against a flat FTSE British banks index. ($1 = 0.7915 pounds) (Reporting by Lawrence White Editing by Keith Weir and David Goodman)