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Ford Motor Company has appointed its first female director of legal affairs, Natalie Jobling. She succeeds Geoffrey Ashworth, who retired in April.
Jobling, 37, says: "Women think car companies are male-dominated, but this shows that at Ford we will promote women who are also the best choice for the job."
She intends to continue Ford's tradition of instructing Lovell White Durrant and Freshfields for most deals, but adds that this is not an exclusive arrangement.
She says: "We have used these firms for a long time, but not for everything. It depends on the matter involved."
She adds that she has instructed Ashurst Morris Crisp to handle the most important legal issue she is dealing with at the moment - the monopoly investigation of all UK car manufacturers by the Competition Commission.
Jobling trained and worked at the firm Coffin Mew and Clover in Portsmouth for five years and specialised in conveyancing.
She moved to Ford UK in 1990 and worked in the legal department as a property specialist. She is now in charge of a team of three lawyers.