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Burges Salmon’s head of corporate takes the National Express’ top legal role

National Express has appointed Burges Salmon’s head of corporate and financial institutions Sandra Forbes as group general counsel and company secretary, becoming the second partner at the Bristol firm to leave for a major transport role in the last few months.

Forbes, who will take up her new position at the Birmingham-headquartered public transport company in early May, established Burges Salmon’s banking practice, having joined in 1991 and become a partner in 1996.

She will be replacing current GC Michael Hampson, who joined the coach, train and tram operator in January 2012, having previously been GC and company secretary at hospitality company Whitbread. It is as yet unknown where Hampson is going next.

During her time in private practice, Forbes has advised on a wide range of corporate financing transactions particularly in the transport sector, where her work has included advising on rolling stock leases in rail privatisation, new trains projects, and general corporate and asset finance facilities for transport companies.

Head of banking at Burges Salmon, Richard Leeming said: ‘We will miss working with Sandra but congratulate her on this fantastic opportunity to work at National Express. It was Sandra’s foresight and energy back in the early 1990s which established our successful banking practice and we thank her for that very significant contribution. This is an exciting change for Sandra and we wish her all the best.’

Forbes’ move comes just a few months after the top 50 UK firm’s head of transport Nick Olley left to take up the role of general counsel at the Department for Transport (DfT) in November, taking over from retiring Christopher Muttukumaru.

Olley had worked for the DfT in an advisory role and on a number of government rail contracts while working in Burges Salmon’s well-regarded transport practice since the mid-1990s, including advising the government department on boosting capacity on the East Anglia and East Midlands National Express lines and procuring new rolling stock fleets.