Colt set for legal rejig with first in-house hire

Colt Telecom, which late last year fought off an attempt to push it into administration, has appointed the former European counsel of GE Capital Europe Jane Forrest as its general counsel, a newly created position.

It is understood that the appointment was driven by Colt’s majority shareholder, US investment group Fidelity, in a move to overhaul the company’s legal function and to raise its profile.

It is not clear exactly what Forrest’s responsibilities will be at Colt and how her appointment will impact on Mark Jenkins, the company’s director of legal services and company secretary.

Forrest, who is due to start at Colt within the next six weeks, was at GE Capital for around four years and specialises in mergers and acquisitions. She left GE Capital at the beginning of 2003, after a radical restructuring saw the dissolution of her department.

Colt has relationships with Slaughter and May, DLA, Baker & McKenzie, Field Fisher Waterhouse and Shepherd & Wedderburn. Slaughters, which handles most of the company’s corporate work, also advised Colt on the unsuccessful claim brought against it by Highberry last year.

Highberry, a hedge fund owned by the US-based Elliott Group, which holds £75m face value worth of bonds in Colt, had sought to put the company into administration, claiming that it was heading for insolvency due to a decline in its share price, substantial operating losses and negative cashflows.

Colt declined to comment.