Sir William Whyte

1878 - 1945

Banker. Born in Kinross, where he obtained a position in the local branch of the Royal Bank of Scotland at the age of fifteen. Within a few years he was moved to a larger branch in Ayr and then to the Saltcoats as the branch accountant. Having impressed his superiors and marked for promotion, he was sent to the Royal Bank's branch in London in 1899. By 1914 he was Assistant Accountant in London, then was appointed Joint Accountant, and then Manager of the London branch in 1924. Five years later, Whyte returned to Edinburgh to take up the appointment of Deputy General Manager of the bank. He was responsible for expanding the Royal Bank through the acquisition of the Manchester-based Williams Deacon's Bank, and then the retail business of the Bank of England. Whyte took over as General Manager on the death of his predecessor in 1933 and steered the bank through the depression of 1930s and the war years. He retired in 1944 but continued to serve on the Bank's Board of Directors. He also served as President of Institute of Bankers in Scotland and in several other commercial, civic and charitable roles. Whyte was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 1934, appointed a Deputy Lieutenant of Edinburgh in 1940 and knighted in 1943.

He died at his home, Baberton House, on the outskirts of Edinburgh.

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