Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) has hired a natural gas lobbyist to become deputy director for energy policy at the Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy.

Cathie France, the director of governmental relations at Virginia Natural Gas and a familiar face on Capitol Square, has long been rumored to be joining the McDonnell administration.

On Friday afternoon, the governor’s office made the announcement official.

In her role at Virginia Natural Gas, France worked with local, state and federal officials, handled the company’s civic and charitable sponsorships and donations and oversaw the company’s energy conservation programs. Before that, she worked as a senior assistant commonwealth’s attorney in Virginia Beach, and an aide to former Sen. Ken Stolle (R).

McDonnell also announced that Terrie Suit has been appointed Secretary of Veterans Affairs and Homeland Security after the General Assembly passed a bill creating the office. The former delegate had been serving as assistant to the governor for commonwealth preparedness, a job that is being converted to her new job. She will not receive a raise from her $152,793 salary.