Meet the Management Team
Chief Executive - Bob Downie BA MSc
Bob Downie has been Chief Executive of The Royal Yacht Britannia Trust since Britannia first arrived in Leith in May 1998. From a blank sheet of paper he has developed Britannia into the UK’s No.1 Attraction (Tripadvisor 2014-15) and one of the UK's top venues for evening hospitality. In 2019 the Trust opened Scotland’s first luxury floating hotel on the former Northern Lighthouse Board vessel: Fingal, and it is generally Edinburgh’s No.1 hotel on Tripadvisor. He has a real passion for ensuring that everyone who visits Britannia and Fingal have a truly great customer experience and this is reflected in both vessels receiving Tripadvisor Travellers’ Choice ‘Best of the Best Awards’ putting them in the Top 1% in the world. Prior to being asked to manage Britannia he was in charge of Tourism in Edinburgh for Scottish Enterprise, having joined their predecessor, the Scottish Development Agency, in 1986. He was born and brought up in Oban. Bob is a former non-executive Director of Museums Galleries Scotland, and Edinburgh College.
Head of Human Resource Development - Vicki Bygrave BA
Vicki Bygrave has been Britannia's Head of HRD since November 2005. Vicki previously worked for John Menzies Retail PLC, before joining Britannia as part of the opening team in October 1998. Vicki started at Britannia as a Finance Assistant and worked her way up to become Head of Finance in October 2001. Heading up HR at Britannia has taken Vicki back to her first career path, having started out as part of the HR team with BP in Shetland in the early 1990s. Vicki describes herself as a people person who is passionate about ensuring Britannia's success through the development of our staff. She is proud of her Scottish Borders roots.
Head of Maintenance & Security - Derek Miller MRINA
Derek is a shipwright/naval architect to trade and joined Britannia in May 2001. He previously spent 23 years with the Ministry of Defence, starting with the Admiralty Research Establishment in Dunfermline involved with Ship and Submarine structures. He then became a Constructive Naval Overseer in Glasgow on the new Type23 Frigates, before joining the Rosyth team managing refitting the Type42 Destroyers. His final role with the MoD was with the Royal Fleet Auxiliary Section in Bath, as Desk Officer in charge of five RFAs. He is originally from Fife and spends most of his spare time on a golf course.
Head of Hospitality, Events & Fingal - Andrew Thomson MA
Andrew gained substantial sales and event management experience while working at The Gleneagles Hotel for 10 years before joining Britannia in 2010. He is responsible for a fantastic team both in front and back of house roles, looking after our outstanding evening events business and overseeing our stunning Royal Deck Tea Room. In January 2019, Andrew oversaw the opening of our very own luxury hotel Fingal. A tremendous success, Fingal has been Edinburgh’s number one hotel on Trip Advisor and collected several awards since opening.
Andrew is a Member of The Institute of Hospitailty. "Working aboard Britannia & Fingal is an enormous privilege and responsibility. My team and I are only ever content if you leave feeling absolutely delighted with your whole customer experience."
A graduate from St Andrews University, Andrew has a passion for golf and history.
Head of Visitor Experience - Robert Gill
Robert re-joined Britannia in April 2018, following two years as Customer Experience Director at Dynamic Earth in Edinburgh. As part of Dynamic Earth’s senior management team, Robert had responsibility for the Visitor Experience, Maintenance, Technical and Facilities departments. Prior to joining Dynamic Earth, Robert spent fifteen years in various management roles at Britannia, developing and managing the visitor experience. Robert has always been driven to deliver an exceptional customer experience and this drive, along with a chance introduction to the concepts of Total Quality Management, ignited a passion for customer-focused management that Robert still has to this day. Robert, who is originally from Leith, currently lives in Joppa with his wife and three sons.
Head of Retail - Kerry Burns MSc BSc CIPD
Before joining Britannia, Kerry was General Manager of Dobbies Garden Centre in Dunfermline. She originally started off as a Graduate Trainee Merchandiser with Marks & Spencer in London and had a number of promoted roles there before moving back to Scotland as Commercial Manager based at Princes Street, Edinburgh. A move to Marks & Spencer at The Gyle, Edinburgh, saw her then promoted to Store Finance & Operations Manager. A career break followed to look after her then three young children, before returning to work as Operations Manager with Dobbies in Dunfermline, where she was then promoted to Deputy Manager, and finally General Manager.
Head of Finance & Administration - Pete Rubie BAcc ACMA
Pete joined Britannia in June 2018. He is a graduate of Stirling University, and is a qualified accountant with experience in both private and not for profit organisations. Most recently he was Finance and Accounting Manager with Scottish Water Business Stream, supporting a sizeable company acquisition during his time there. Prior to that Pete spent 4 years with Jewel and Esk College as a Company Accountant, followed by 5 years as Group Finance Manager with the National Trust for Scotland, where he discovered a passion for conservation, heritage and tourism. Pete is also a keen student of leadership and management theory, and holds qualifications with both the Institute of Leadership and Management, and the Chartered Management Institute. Pete is from Edinburgh and now lives in East Lothian. He is an avid golfer and rugby fan.
Head of Marketing - Casey Rust BA
Casey joined Britannia in May 2006 as Assistant Marketing Manager and has worked her way up to Head of Marketing. With 16 years experience, working in business to business and tourism marketing, it was always a goal to work for a five-star attraction and Casey is privileged to work on an iconic brand such as Britannia. Casey has a keen interest in digital marketing and has a Diploma, along with a Digital Strategy qualification, from The Chartered Institute of Marketing. A keen runner, Casey enjoys running off-road on Edinburgh’s many hills.