The Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch MSP's promotion to the cabinet is no surprise after she successfully stood in for Derek Mackay, after his ignominious departure earlier this month, to deliver the Scottish budget.
It means seven out of the 12 members of Cabinet are women, in the shake-up unveiled by Nicola Sturgeon today. The Scottish Government , including junior ministers, will be fully gender balanced at 13 men and 13 women. This excludes law officers.
Jenny Gilruth, the Fife MSP, will also join the Government as Europe and International Development minister, with Ben Macpherson moving sideways to replace Ms Forbes as public finance minister.
The reshuffle will also see Michael Russell take on a new role as cabinet Secretary for the Constitution, Europe and External Affairs, shedding his former Brexit brief following the UK's departure from the EU.
It means Fiona Hyslop's brief is overhauled as she takes on the brief for Economy, Fair Work and Culture.
Fergus Ewing will take on responsibility for tourism as Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy and Tourism.
Ms Sturgeon said: “These appointments bring new talent into government and deliver a real focus, not only on driving forward our economy, but also on addressing the challenges of Brexit, increasing our population and ending Scotland’s contribution to the climate crisis.
“I am pleased to make these appointments and - in particular - to be able to put Scotland’s finances and Scotland’s economy into the hands of two incredibly talented colleagues.
“Fiona Hyslop has been an outstanding Cabinet Secretary, delivering a successful expansion of Scotland’s overseas presence and recognition, supporting our booming tourism industry and demonstrating the huge importance of culture - not just to our economy, but more importantly to who we are and how we see ourselves.
“I know she will bring that drive, passion and sharp focus to Scotland’s economy. Working alongside Kate Forbes as the Cabinet Secretary for Finance, she will continue to drive forward our economy, support our key industries and maintain Scotland’s long tradition as an outward-looking, dynamic and enterprising nation."
The appointments of Ms Forbes to Cabinet and of Ms Gilruth as a Minister will have to be endorsed by MSPs at the Scottish Parliament tomorrow