Sainsbury's chairman Sir Philip Hampton could take the reins at Royal Bank of Scotland as soon as this week, according to press reports.

Hampton was first linked with the RBS role in October and the Daily Telegraph reports that his appointment could be confirmed by the end of the week.

He is currently chair of UK Financial Investments, the Government holding company set up to monitor taxpayers' stakes in major banks including RBS and the merged Lloyds TSB and HBOS – but would step down in the event of taking on the RBS brief.

Hampton, who joined Sainsbury's as chairman in 2004, is a former director of Lloyds TSB and would be taking on one of the City's toughest jobs, as the embattled lender acclimatises to life under state control following a £20bn injection of public funds last autumn.