The Rangers owner has ushered in a new era by banishing the old one, but he faces more fundamental challenges now that he is imposing his authority.
The suspension of Martin Bain leaves Rangers without a chief executive, and Whyte does not intend to involve himself in the day-to-day running of the club.
He has been ruthless in his treatment of Bain, Donald McIntyre, Alastair Johnston and Paul Murray, the other directors removed on Monday night, but Whyte is now required to show how shrewd his judgment is.
Replacing Bain is the critical decision of Whyte’s ownership, as the appointment will be the figure who runs the club’s affairs, liaises with Ally McCoist, the manager, and shapes the public perception of the club. Bain, for all his likeability, was not a cunning operative when it came to the politics of running one half of the Old Firm.
Rangers supporters might rankle at the observation, but Whyte needs to identify an individual who can control the club with the same calculating sharpness as Peter Lawwell, the Celtic chief executive.
As well as financial expertise, and an appreciation of the unique demands of football business, the candidate needs to be astute enough to address the sectarian singing that has occasionally returned among the supporters, but also ensure that the club’s reputation is not damaged, that the messages coming out of Ibrox are positive.
Under Lawwell, Celtic have reduced their debt and become more assertive, in particular in dealing with the Scottish Football Association, but also in their promotion of the club’s identity. While coping with the debt to Lloyds Bank, the search for a new owner, financial downsizing and being disciplined by Uefa, Rangers have been a club under siege.
Having spent £18m on paying off Lloyds, and pledged to spend £25m over five years on the team -- front-ended so that there is significant investment this summer -- Whyte will not want to see the club plagued by negative headlines. Rangers need strong leadership, in a football sense, but also politically.
Supporters will prefer somebody that they know, but a direct involvement in the game is not essential. A commercial background will help to raise revenues at Ibrox, while a hard-headed approach to negotiations will be critical when McCoist is likely to sign up to five new players, as well as seek contract extensions for another four.
Football agents are remorseless in their exploitation of weak club directors, and Rangers cannot afford to be seen as vulnerable. Under Lawwell, Celtic have often held out for higher transfer fees than Rangers have generated for comparable players in recent years, and acquisitions have tended to provide value for money.
Rangers need a vision, though, somebody to drive the club towards a new understanding of how to hold on to its heritage and its values while eradicating the sectarian minority among the support. Leadership is required, too, in the SFA and Scottish Premier League meeting rooms as the game moves, however tentatively, towards reconstruction.
Whyte is being advised by business colleagues, but also contacts with football experience. He is also thought to be taking soundings on potential candidates to fill the chief executive’s role, having opted not to take on the role of managing director himself.
But at the Old Firm, the position brings with it a high-profile and a social responsibility that is unique in football. The nature of the rivalry between Rangers and Celtic, and their status as community institutions for their respective fans, demands firm and insightful authority.
If Whyte makes the right decision with this crucial appointment, his stewardship of the club will quickly gather momentum. But the wrong choice would see Rangers fall behind Celtic, a place that the new owner (and the new manager) will find uncomfortable to bear.
Whyte has been strong-minded so far, but with pre-season training beginning in four weeks, transfers to complete and strategies to be drawn up, there is little time to spend in deliberation. His decisiveness will need to be maintained.
RIGHT MAN FOR THE JOB?
ALI RUSSELL: Left his position as deputy managing director of Queens Park Rangers last January and was among the group that Whyte brought with him on his first visit to Ibrox after buying the club. Russell is considered a frontrunner, due to his relationship with Whyte and his experience in football. He left his position as commercial director at Hearts to move to London, so has knowledge of the Scottish game. Prior to Tynecastle, Russell worked for Coca-Cola and then the Scottish Rugby Union. His expertise is in commerce, but having worked for Vladimir Romanov and then the cadre of multi-millionaires who own QPR, he must be astute enough in dealing with strong owners. More of a marketing man than a leadership candidate, he might lack the stature to become a figurehead at Ibrox.
GORDON McKIE: Currently chief executive of the Scottish Rugby Union, a position that requires Machiavellian instincts, McKie has often been linked with a move to Rangers, at least in the swirl of rumours that tends to surround Scottish sport. He is believed to have a fondness for the Ibrox side, and his business background is impeccable, so would be a formidable appointment. Ushered in a period of stability at Murrayfield, but is known to be a headstrong and brusque operator.
GORDON SMITH: A favourite figure among the Ibrox support, who still warmly recall his performances for Rangers in the 1970s. As a media pundit then as chief executive of the SFA, Smith refused to deny his personal allegiance to the Ibrox club, but was able to separate it from his working life. Does not possess as impressive a business background as other candidates, but understands better than any the social and cultural aspects of the Old Firm and the nature of the Rangers identity.