Whyte moved up seven places on 2011 to take the top spot from The Apprentice star Lord Alan Sugar
Controversial former Rangers chairman Craig Whyte was the most searched for UK company director last year, a new survey shows.
Whyte moved up from seventh in 2011 to first place last year, taking the top spot from The Apprentice star Lord Alan Sugar, who moved down a place to second most searched director, according to figures compiled by online company report provider Creditsafe.
Whyte, who acquired Sir David Murray's majority shareholding in Rangers Football Club Plc - now in liquidation – also ranked higher than five Dragons' Den stars.
Theo Paphitis moved up three places to third; Peter Jones moved up four places to fourth; Duncan Bannatyne moved down three places to fifth and David Fishwick, who recently joined the show, was a new entry in sixth.
Whyte also ranked higher than Sir Richard Branson, who only managed to rank eighth despite recently adding another £200 million to his personal fortune from Liberty Global's takeover of Virgin Media.
The Creditsafe report states: “Given that Whyte oversaw the most disastrous period in the club’s history, which saw the club placed into administration and relegated to Scottish football’s fourth tier it is unsurprising he garnered so much attention for his business dealings.
“While Whyte may have made £20,000 trading shares before he even left school, it is more likely people were investigating his less successful business affairs last year.”
Music mogul Simon Cowell was ranked twelfth, beating the likes of David Beckham, who was ranked 26th, and Wayne Rooney, who was ranked fortieth.
Creditsafe said its report came from analysis of its UK database of eight million companies and six million directors in January 2013 to establish the most searched for enterprises and individuals by its 28,000 UK customers during 2012.
Creditsafe stated in their press release Rangers were “relegated” into the “third tier” of Scottish football.
Rangers are in fact playing in the fourth tier of Scottish football, which is the IRN-BRU Third Division.
The statement Rangers were relegated is also incorrect. A new company was set up after Rangers Football Club Plc was placed into liquidation in October 2012. The 'newco', trading as The Rangers Football Club Ltd, thereafter listed on the Alternative Investment Market (AIM), trading under the name Rangers International Football Club Plc.
The liquidated club, formed in 1872, was placed in administration in February 2012 over non-payment of tax estimated at around £14 million.
HM Revenue and Customs then blocked a company voluntary arrangement (CVA) which would have allowed the oldco Rangers to continue trading.
Oldco Rangers' administrator Duff & Phelps thereafter sold the assets to a consortium led by Charles Green, then trading under the name Sevco Scotland Ltd, and shareholders in the oldco gave their approval thereafter to change its name to The Rangers Football Club Ltd and the 'oldco' assumed the name RFC 2012.
This 'newco' was granted a licence by the Scottish football authorities to re-enter competitive football in Scotland in the third division after the Scottish Premier League clubs voted overwhelmingly against allowing the newco to re-enter top flight Scottish football.