The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh Executive Team comprises the Regius Keeper and five Directors.
- Simon Milne MBE - Regius Keeper
Simon Milne’s passion is nature conservation, plants and leadership. He was appointed the 16th Regius Keeper of the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh in 2014 (post established 1699) and plays a leading and international role in the development and management of botanical collections. He was educated at the University of St Andrews and in 1976 commissioned into the Royal Marines with subsequent worldwide operational commando service. In 2000 he became Director of the Sir Harold Hillier Gardens and Arboretum and in 2004 he was appointed Chief Executive of the Scottish Wildlife Trust. Simon is a member of His Majesty’s Body Guard of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen at Arms, is an Honorary Professor of the University of Edinburgh, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and sits on three international garden advisory committees and numerous charitable trusts. He was appointed MBE in 1996. Simon was voted Scotland’s top public sector leader by the Institute of Directors in 2020.
- Professor Peter Hollingsworth - Deputy Keeper and Director of Science
Pete Hollingsworth is Director of Science and Deputy Keeper at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, a Visiting Professor at the University of Edinburgh, a visiting Professor at the University of Johannesburg, and an Honorary Professor of the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ Kunming Institute of Botany. His research focuses on understanding and conserving plant biodiversity. In recent years he has contributed to the international efforts of building a unified DNA based-index of life on earth, including various roles within the International Barcode of Life project and the Consortium for the Barcode of Life. He has a strong interest in linking scientific research to practical conservation outcomes, with particular interests in plant health, reintroductions/translocations and the integration of genetic data into conservation planning.
- Kari Coghill - Director of Innovation Projects
Kari Coghill joined the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh in July 2018 as the Director of Enterprise and Communication. With over 30 years’ experience in tourism, marketing and visitor attractions, Kari previously held a number of posts at Historic Environment Scotland/Historic Scotland. Most recently she was Head of Business Development & Enterprise at Historic Environment Scotland, with responsibility for driving visitors to and generating income at over 70 historic visitor attractions across Scotland, including Edinburgh Castle. She also led on the setting up of the trading subsidiary, Historic Environment Scotland Enterprises (HESe) Ltd. Previous work experience includes 10 years at the Scottish Tourist Board (now Visit Scotland) in visitor services and international marketing. Kari is also a trustee of the Association of Cultural Enterprises (ACE) and a previous board member of the Association of Scottish Visitor Attractions (ASVA).
- Raoul Curtis-Machin - Director of Horticulture and Visitor Experience
Raoul Curtis-Machin has 33 years of experience in horticulture and heritage. He has been Director of Horticulture at the Horticultural Trades Association, a National Trust Gardens and Parks Adviser, landscape historian, private estate manager, garden designer, publisher, author, lecturer and more. Born in Dundee he developed his childhood interest in horticulture through studying for a degree in landscape management at Reading University.
He has a wealth of heritage, politics, communications and landscape management experience. Raoul also helped protect some of the Scotland’s most valuable landscapes when he was the Landscape Historian with Historic Environment Scotland. In his twenties, he managed Sir Winston Churchill’s former estate in Sussex and run a successful garden design business in London. In his early thirties he set up and launched The Northern Garden Magazine, for gardeners in Scotland, Northern England and Northern Ireland.
As the HTA’s Director of Horticulture, he helped lead the UK garden industry by playing a key role in developing the Ornamental Horticulture Roundtable Action Group and he represented the UK Government as Commissioner-General at the Antalya Expo 2016. In 2018, Raoul returned to Scotland to be the National Trust for Scotland Operations Manager for Culloden Battlefield, which has given him hands-on experience of Scottish heritage tourism, as well as conserving one of Scotland’s iconic heritage assets. He has been a Trustee of RBGE since 2019, and has a Certificate in Company Direction from the Institute of Directors, as well as Postgraduate Diplomas in Journalism and Public Affairs.
- Joanne Hannah - Director of Resources and Planning
Joanne Hannah was appointed as Director of Resources and Planning of RBGE in January 2021. Prior to that she was Deputy Chief Executive Officer of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh, committed to positively influencing healthcare, professional standards and health policy both nationally and internationally. Previously Joanne has worked as a director, executive advisor, head of commercial services and change and organisational development consultant in professional and higher education institutions across the UK, and in senior management roles within the hospitality and leisure sectors in Hong Kong. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, Commerce and Manufactures, Chartered Manager and Fellow of the Chartered Management Institute, and holds an MBA in International Business Management.
- Emma Lacroix - Director of Development and Communications
Emma Lacroix was appointed Director Development in May 2018. Previously, she was Head of Philanthropy for the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of Edinburgh where she was responsible for leading the major gifts fundraising for eleven schools. Charged with oversight of the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh’s fundraising and membership operation, Emma provides leadership for development programmes and initiatives across the four gardens. She works closely with Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh staff, trustees, and the Botanic Foundation to identify fundraising priorities and define strategies that support the Garden’s mission 'to explore, conserve and explain the world of plants for a better future'.