Major General Buster Howes has been unveiled as the new chief executive of The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo.
The board of directors announced the appointment on Tuesday following last year’s notification that Brigadier David Allfrey would step down from the role in 2020.
The Major General, whose last military appointment was head of the British Defence Staff in the USA under the Obama administration, will become the charity’s first Royal Marines CEO.
He said: “It is an honour to be appointed as chief executive of The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, an organisation I have been a part of for five years and one which I have admired since I was a wee boy.
“I have worked alongside David throughout my time as a non-executive director and have witnessed first-hand his commitment, creativity and transformation of the Tattoo.
“I’m very much looking forward to taking the reins and I am delighted to be asked to lead a team of talented and dedicated professionals.
‘It is an honour to be appointed as chief executive of The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, an organisation I have been a part of for five years and one which I have admired since I was a wee boy.’Major General Buster Howes
“I have lived and worked in Scotland both as a ‘bootneck’ and civilian, and I am delighted to embrace and evolve this important part of the country’s heritage.”
Prior to working with the Obama administration, the Major General commanded the Royal Marines.
He was subsequently the chief executive of Here be Dragons, a commercial-philanthropic hybrid, dedicated to the conservation and sustainable development of the Island of Principe, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in the Gulf of Guinea.
Most recently, he advised the NHS, helping them to enhance organisational and individual resilience through the coronavirus pandemic.
The Major General will officially take over on June 15, leading the Tattoo into its eighth decade.
Brigadier Allfrey has held the appointment for nearly a decade.
He has been instrumental in developing the Tattoo from a celebrated annual event in Edinburgh into a world-class spectacular.
The Tattoo attracts an audience of 220,000 to Edinburgh Castle and global television viewing figures of 100 million annually.
During his tenure, the Tattoo expanded its footprint to host shows in Australia and New Zealand while planning shows in China and North America.
At the same time, the Tattoo has significantly developed as a group of companies, contributing more than £70m to the UK economy and £1m to Armed Forces charities and the arts each year.
Brigadier Allfrey said: “Over the years, I have been hugely privileged to have travelled the world and work with a host of talented people across such a wide sphere.
‘He will bring vision, intellect, a broad view, and a fabulous skill set to our business and charity.’Brigadier Allfrey
“The Tattoo is remarkable – unique even – at bringing people together in a fabulous place, to share a sense of occasion, learn a little bit about each other and form friendships that endure.
“We are so fortunate to have secured Buster as our next CEO.
“He will bring vision, intellect, a broad view, and a fabulous skill set to our business and charity.
“As one of our directors, he has recognised and encouraged the ambitions we have set for the brand, the plans for the show, and our continued engagement across the world.
“As chief executive, he will lead the Tattoo into wonderful new realms.”
Peter Lederer, chairman of The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, paid tribute to Brigadier Allfrey.
He said: “David has been a strong business and creative lead for the past ten years; setting demanding objectives and challenges, transforming the organisation into a truly global brand.
“His creativity will always be legendary and, although he will be missed greatly by the whole team, we are delighted to welcome Buster into his new role.
“I have no doubt Buster will provide the vision and leadership needed to further develop the work the Tattoo does, supporting the team through what is an unprecedented time in the tourism and entertainment industries.
“He brings with him an exceptional resume of experience, both within the military and as an experienced and successful chief executive.
“We’re looking forward to celebrating David’s contribution to the Tattoo, Edinburgh and Scotland when we’re able, but for now we want to thank him for his immense legacy and for all that he has done for the Tattoo.”