Coach company National Express has hired Burges Salmon banking and transport partner Sandra Forbes as general counsel.

Her exit to the coach company comes after transport head Nick Olley left for the Department for Transport (13 September 2013).

Forbes spent 23 years at Burges Salmon, where she is currently head of the firm’s corporate and financial institutions department.

She replaces current National Express general counsel Michael Hampson, who was appointed in January 2012. It is not yet known what Hampson’s next role will be.

Forbes was the first ever-female department head at Burges Salmon after she was installed as head of the corporate and financial institutions department (28 November 2006). She also established the firm’s banking group, where clients of the firm include Royal Bank of Scotland, Lloyds Banking Group and Nationwide.

She has also taken on chunky mandates in the transport sector where she has advised on rolling stock leases in rail privatisation as well as asset finance facilities for transport companies.

The sector is a strong one for the firm, which has just made up former Freshfields associate and now banking partner Rachel Ruane, who specialises in rail financing (20 March 2014).

However Olley and Forbes are not the only transport-focused lawyers to have quit Burges Salmon in recent months. Legal director and fellow rail group member Suzanne Tarplee left for Stephenson Harwood in January (7 January 2014).

Of Forbes’ exit, head of banking Richard Leeming said: “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.”