|Quotes • Headscratchers • Playing With • Useful Notes • Analysis • Image Links • Haiku • Laconic|
"Killing the indigenous looks bad, but the only thing the shareholders hate more than bad press is a bad quarterly statement."—Parker Selfridge, Avatar
A senior manager, CEO or owner of a major definitely-for-profit corporation who is out to make as much money and gain as much power as possible, by any means available, regardless of who suffers. To that end, they are perfectly willing to violate business or social ethics, commit crimes (ranging from fraudulent accounting to mass murder), and devastate Mother Nature and human communities, justifying those actions under the name of "just business". They are confident that all they have to do is spread enough money around to get their way or avoid punishment, and are very likely to cross the Moral Event Horizon and/or become The Unfettered in their search for profit.
Expect to find them at the head of an enormous boardroom table on the top floor of an Evil Tower of Ominousness.
They usually fail to consider the full effects of their plan, or the fact that they can make more by going legit, and at times the plan seems to have no concrete way of creating wealth. Usually, they remain in business thanks to Offscreen Villain Dark Matter.
Though there are earlier examples, the modern Corrupt Corporate Executive had (until relatively recently) a distinctly 80s feel, which made him seem progressively more out of place as those affectations become less mainstream. Earlier Corrupt Corporate Executives tended to be far less stylized and distinct from other "smooth" villain types (often with a healthy streak of Blofeld). However, over the past decade countless high profile real life cases of corporate corruption have arguably diminished the 80s feel of the character and made the Corrupt Corporate Executive a very modern villain.
A well-known variation of the CCE is the CEO or President of a megacorporation that produces and controls everything (even the authorities) and is the de facto ruler of the world. This is one of the major villains in Cyberpunk.
Another variation of the CCE is the Robber Baron, a pre-80s, industrial revolution era manifestation that retains all of the CCE's cosmopolitan, far-reaching financial and political power, with perhaps even less governmental or media constraints to consider. Joseph Pulitzer, from the movie Newsies, is a perfect example of this subtrope. The Robber Baron will have a different wardrobe and jargon than the 80s CCE, as appropriate to his setting, but is otherwise indistinguishable.
Another variation on the CCE, found mostly in Walking the Earth series, is basically a Corrupt Hick, with a business. The "corporations" they represent are not major multinational conglomerates, but small businesses like trucking companies, hotels, or other "mom and pop" ventures that simply want their competitors out of action. They tend to have little power outside of a single town or county, but can usually amass a small army of redneckish goons and threaten violence with impunity by virtue of paying off local law enforcement and/or the judiciary. This flavor of Corrupt Corporate Executive favors harassing a competing store owned by a kindly old man/woman and/or their family.
Contrast Honest Corporate Executive, the CCE's natural enemy.
Anime and Manga Edit
- Shugo Chara: While the show is 'extraordinarily' supportive of large amounts of ambition, both Gozen and his "director", Kazamu Hoshina, both definitely' count for this, although, unlike most examples, they are not motivated by money: Gozen just asks for the Embryo, and Kazamu does as he says. However, while an all - being source of infinite powers in the "care" of a couple of bastards may be a very annoying thing indeed, it's what 'makes' them bastards that throw them straight to this trope: Their methods. Their worst crime would be breaking or corrupting horrifically large amounts of Heart's Eggs, thus stopping the dreams of what would probably be hundreds of children, in order to get the Embryo. As for Kazamu's foolishness while attempting to give Gozen, A.K.A. Hikaru Ichinomiya, his grandson, easter's C.E.O. position, due both towards a distaste of the (Would be forced.) former proposed heir towards the easter heritage, Aruto, partly due towards his (Acheived.) dream of playing his violin, and due towards him emigrating, alone, within order towards avoiding running that company, and an action asking to use a "fitting" heir for easter: Blackmailing throughout violence Souko, Aruto's former wife, towards marrying him, thus giving him parental authority of both Aruto and Souko's children: Ikuto and Utau
- Extensively referenced in the Cyberpunk series Bubblegum Crisis, where not only are GENOM's executives corrupt, but also controlling both the police and local government via a Government Conspiracy.
- At first glance, the Yotsuba Group in Death Note appeared to be a group of ruthless businessmen who were willing to turn anything towards gaining money. When one of them gained access to the eponymous Artifact of Doom, they used it to selectively kill off their rivals in order to increase their profit margins. As L and Light's investigation went on, it was revealed that only one of them was willing to go so far. The others were just there because their lives had been threatened by the holder of the eponymous note.
- From Yu Yu Hakusho:
- Sakyou and the Black Black Club. Gambling on the torture and destruction of demons, and organizing a tournament for this reason, just to earn more money... these people DEFINE "corrupt".
- There is also the Dark Tournament Committee, who are easily bribed to impose increasingly absurd restrictions on the heroes during their fight with Team Masho.
- Gozaburo Kaiba and the Big Five. Gozaburo put Seto Kaiba through hell to mold him into his idea of the proper replacement for him and had no qualms with manufacturing and selling weapons to just about anyone for the right price. The Big Five, meanwhile, made plenty of deals behind Kaiba's back after he gained control of the company and reinvented it as a gaming distributor, including kidnapping Kaiba's own brother, in order to oust him as chairman and revert the company to its former warmongering ways.
- Kaiba himself is this trope incarnate in the trendsetting Abridged Series.
- He's this in Yu-Gi-Oh as well. While not as bad as his father, Kaiba still abuses his wealth and power for everything it's worth, blocking players he doesn't like from tournaments, refusing to call a halt to the proceedings after several of his players are hospitalised, and taking over companies by threatening their employees. He's even worse in the manga where he has dealings with the mafia and sets up a colossal theme park designed to kill the guests.
- Pegasus fits this as well, using his power as the head of Industrial Illusions and host of the Duellist Kingdom tournament for all its worth.
- From Martian Successor Nadesico:
- Nergal Heavy Industries in general, with the exception of people on the ship from the start. With a name like that...
- Their rivals, the Crimson Group, are even worse, financing the terrorist coup in the movie.
- Ajo from Key the Metal Idol. When he wasn't busy traveling to foreign countries to sell them illegal weapons, he was murdering people who got in his way (no matter how much the audience may like them), kidnapping homeless people to extract their gel (and robbing them of their humanity in the process), extorting people, abusing women, or, in the end, building a giant reactor to steal the essence from 50,000 people at a concert. All apparently to fuel his robot fetish.
- In Witchblade Wadou of the Douji Group is quite willing to backstab a colleague, risk his corporation's image or abuse his position to work with mad partner from NSWF toward personal goals while endangering bystanders knowingly and by negligence. For contrast, Reiji Takayama (as well as his old staff) in the same Douji Group, despite his occasional blunders, is responsible and even becomes Silent Scapegoat to save his company's reputation.
- The Gowa family and Symbol from Gasaraki seem to be this at first. In reality things are much more complicated than this, although Kazukiyo Gowa comes pretty close to fitting the trope.
- Comes close? Kazukiyo Gowa is pretty goddamned corrupt, from using hollowed out demons to develop mecha, resulting in his brother's death, his adopted brother's borderline slavery to the family and nearly killing his sister for a new demon, to taking part in a coup that will result in either Japan being left completely bankrupt, or Japan and America both completely bankrupt, only to get a hold of the entire county's financial Data, so he can restart the stockmarket with his hands holding all the cards.
- Satoru Kanzaki of Area 88 becomes one of these after he takes over Yamato Airlines. Among other things, he was instrumental in adopting a very shoddily built new airliner.
- The Siberian Railroad from Overman King Gainer uses the monopoly they have to overcharge people on everything, and since the only way to get anything is to use the Siberian Railroad they can do whatever they want.
- Akumetsu cuts his way through a lot of these.
- Grings Kodai. He's the founder and owner of his extremely successful company. He will also go down in history as one of the nastiest pieces of work in Pokemon history. There are no lows he won't sink to in order to get what he wants, including blackmail, lying to an entire city, kidnapping, and threatening to murder a baby Pokemon directly in front of his mother! He'll also go down in Pokemon history as having one of the most satisfying Humiliation Conga ever given.
- In Mens Love, many of the characters are portrayed as morally flexible in the interests of business, but Daigo's father definitely wanders into this trope when he bribes Kaoru to break up with Daigo and failing that threatens to expose his sexual orientation so that Daigo can make a marriage that's advantageous to the company.
- Oyama from the 2009 TV special of Kimba the White Lion. He isn't into money so much as he is into playing God with animals.
- Albert Maverick from Tiger and Bunny. He's willing to make deals with crime syndicates, murder people who know too much, and mess with a child's mind to make a new popular hero just to keep ratings up. Oh, and did we mention that said child was the son of two of his victims, and another victim worked as his caretaker? Made even worse by how he has NEXT powers too... in which he can rewrite people's memories. And he very much uses them.
- Many, many of the Asshole Victims in Detective Conan are these.
Comic Books Edit
- Originally a Mad Scientist, Lex Luthor became a corrupt exec in the late 1980s; most TV versions of this character followed suit. Superman: The Animated Series notably hybridized this by implying that Luthor built his company through developing his own inventions.
- In his appearances on Justice League, wherein he discovers that he is dying from radiation poisoning from prolonged exposure to kryptonite, Luthor returns to his Mad Scientist role as he snaps and acquires a power suit to take the fight directly to Superman, whom he blames for his condition. Later, Luthor is cured of his disease, pardoned for his crimes as a super-villain, and in Justice League Unlimited becomes a corrupt politician as a cover for his true plan.
- As well as Superman, Luthor has a hate on for Batman and Bruce Wayne independently due to being a corrupt exec. LexCorp's main rival for several years of DC Comics continuity has been stated to be WayneTech, Bruce Wayne's company, and Batman has taken some glee in foiling Luthor's schemes as a superhero and as a business competitor. In fact, not only did he and Superman engineer Luthor's end as president of the United States, Bruce Wayne bought his company headquarters out from under him.
- Both the Kingpin and Deathwatch from the Marvel Universe are New York crime bosses and the heads of major corporations.
- Iron Man has a couple of these. One is Obadiah Stane, a literal chessmaster whose Xanatos Gambits caused Tony Stark to develop a drinking problem, allowing Stane to buy Stark Enterprises out from under him. Justin Hammer, another one of Stark's business rivals, commonly hires supervillains to carry out acts of intimidation and sabotage against his competitors. Of course, such tactics usually have Stark responding by donning the Iron Man armor to defend his own holdings.
- Hammer's daughter, Justine Hammer, also becomes one when she takes over the company.
- Walter Declun from Marvel took over Damage Control, a company that specializes in cleaning up after superhero/supervillain fights. In order to increase profits, Declun manipulated supervillains to cause as much damage as possible and gave some of them mutant growth hormone to increase their powers. This indirectly led to the Stamford incident, which in turn led to the infamous Civil War story arc.
- Many members of The Trust from One Hundred Bullets fit this trope.
- In Flight 714, László Carreidas might fall under this trope. He's not one of the story's antagonists (who are after his money), and not so much corrupt as compulsively dishonest (he always cheats when playing Battleships).
- A more typical example is R. W. Trickler of General American Oil in The Broken Ear.
- Norman Osborn, not only a corrupt Exec, he's also a crazy one.
- Garth Ennis' The Punisher: The End depicts corrupt executives as being responsible for the end of the world.
- In Echo, the research labs at Henri seem to be neck deep in murder, government conspiracies and potentially world-ending technologies all in the pursuit of an advantage over China and a few quick bucks.
- Marvel had an actual criminal organization called The Corporation at one point, although, in something of a reversal, they started as a villainous organization (Hydra) that reorganized itself along business company lines (including things such as insurance packages for its members!)
- Another Marvel example of sorts is Hexus, the Living Corporation, although that happened to an alien Hive Mind that drew its power from people's obsession with its products.
- The entire board of directors in Steelgrip Starkey And The All-Purpose Power Tool are this to a T.
- Las Man Standing has the president of Armtech, Abram.
- The classic Marvel Universe version is the Roxxon Energy Corporation, a corporation whose management is perfectly willing, even eager, to use any underhanded and/or criminal tactics to secure its profits. While all the superheroes are ready to fight them, Iron Man is particularly enthusiastic since their antics make his own company look bad.
- The Blotch in Zot. It's also revealed that Charity is this trope on a planetary example.
- Lord Blackpool from Lady Mechanika; a Steampunk arms manufacturer very much in the 'dark satanic mills' mould.
- Doctor Strange goes up against one of these in Doctor Strange: The Oath when he discovers a magical elixir that can cure all diseases. Though they insist they are Withholding the Cure so that humanity can make discoveries at its own pace, it is only too clear they are only interested in their profit margin.
- While he is sometimes portrayed as the exact opposite, Scrooge McDuck is typically this trope, especially in the Italian Disney comics.
- Unstoppable- There's a train going at full speed with no one driving it. It's filled with innocent passengers and toxic wastes and eventually, it'll crash. What does the head honcho guy (who's company is responsible for the train) say about this? "I'm not gonna put the company at risk just because some engineer wants to play hero!"
- Gordon Gekko of Wall Street being the most obvious.
- Any part Dabney Coleman plays, with the uber-example being Franklin Hart in 9 to 5.
- In the first RoboCop movie, Richard "Dick" Jones is an Evil Chancellor form of the Corrupt Corporate Executive, since he is only the vice-president of OCP under the seemingly benign "Old Man." In the sequel, the Old Man takes to the corruption like a duck to water.
- In the live-action series, the Old Man is considerably more well-meaning and altruistic; still expects a profit margin, but not willing to cause undue suffering to get there. His company, however, is crawling with CCEs on every level, providing handy throwaway villains for every episode. The Old Man is constantly surprised that someone with a Harvard education could be so corrupt.
- Seemingly the only remotely honest person working at OCP is Donald Johnson who was Bob Morton's #2 at Security Concepts, and even he has some morally ambiguous dealings
- Kurt Fuller has a knack for playing these types (usually dwindling to a Butt Monkey by the end). See Ghostbusters II, The Running Man and Wayne's World for proof.
- Beckett of the second & third Pirates of the Caribbean movies is one.
- Elliot Carver in the James Bond flick Tomorrow Never Dies is a corrupt media mogul who has no problem with covertly starting a war between China and the UK to boost his ratings.
- Similarly, Elektra King, daughter and heir to her father's Mediterranean oil pipeline, seduced her captor, murdered her father, kidnapped M, and plotted to destroy Istanbul so her pipeline would get more use. She's so much of a twisted villain, she's currently the only Bond Woman Bond himself has killed in cold blood.
- Auric Goldfinger. A proper Bond villain. If you can't have the United States' gold reserves, you can always just destroy them. Wiping out the entire population of Fort Knox (civilian and military alike) in the process is just collateral damage.
- Max Zorin from A View to a Kill. How do you effectively corner the microchip market? Destroy Silicon Valley with a massive man-made earthquake. And if the rest of southern California has to go with it? So be it.
- And pretty much the whole American government in Quantum of Solace.
- Carter Burke from Aliens. Though not a CEO, he's the only member of The Squad who answers directly to the Mega Corp that owns the infested colony and constantly endangers everyone by putting his own agenda (capturing and weaponizing the eponymous aliens for profit) ahead of everyone else.
- Lamon Montgomery from Bee Movie.
- The cleanliness obsessed boss from the movie version of Cat in the Hat.
- Noah Cross from Chinatown is one of the greatest examples in cinema. A cunning, ruthless, and perverse sociopath, Cross, already the richest and most powerful man in Los Angeles, renders vast farmlands arid by illegally dumping their irrigation water into the ocean, thus causing their prices to plummet to next to nothing. After forcing the farmers to sell their land to his cabal of corrupt business partners, Cross intends to develop his newly acquired land by irrigating it with the water supply diverted from the city itself, through a new aqueduct and reservoir built from $8 million of taxpayer money. His only gain from this elaborate swindle is "The future!" What's worse, this doesn't even include his more...shocking crimes.
- Subverted in Die Hard. Japanese CEO Joe Takagi takes a bullet in the head rather than betray his corporation, and you're meant to think that annoying yuppie Ellis is going to tell Hans about John McClane's wife, but he's actually putting his own life on the line by pretending to be John's friend (unfortunately he misjudges both the agenda and ruthlessness of Hans).
- Victor Von Doom (later Doctor Doom) in the Fantastic Four movie was one of these.
- The plot of Fun with Dick and Jane kicks off with such a CEO destroying his company through fraud, Enron-style, and leaving his second in command and his head of PR to take the heat while he himself goes on to enjoy his millions.
- The Godfather movies have quite a few. Of course, the Godfather himself could possibly count as this too.
- Conal Cochran from Halloween III: Season of the Witch, who planned to kill innumerable people through rigged Halloween masks simply For the Evulz, and because he's the descendant/reincarnation of an ancient evil Druid.
- The Mayor of Whoville from the movie version of How the Grinch Stole Christmas.
- Rachel Bitterman from It's a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie.
- Mr. Potter in It's a Wonderful Life. He owns the bank, and eventually almost every business in Bedford Falls, excepting the Bailey Building and Loan. In the reality where he really owns everything, general conditions in town are horrific.
- The board of directors of the toy company in The Santa Clause. Tim Allen's character only realizes there's a problem after he starts turning into Santa Claus.
- Calling them corrupt seems a bit harsh. They never do anything evil or even unpleasant. The worst thing they do is replace Santa's sleigh with "Total Tank" for their commercial.
- Arnold Royalton from the live action Speed Racer movie.
- In Santa Claus: The Movie (1985) the evil CEO B.Z. (John Lithgow) is firstly vilified as an evil CEO who knowingly produces unsafe toys for children. (Why he would make teddy bears stuffed with sawdust and nails when presumably other metal things that WEREN'T construction nails probably would be cheaper isn't elaborated on... he's evil, get it?) When he gets the chance to market candy that will allow those who eat it to temporarily float or fly, he leaps at the chance to make millions and save his reputation, despite the fact that he has to (with no compunctions) Kick the Dog by shrugging off the knowledge that many children are likely to die due to the second, stronger version of the candy exploding if it gets too hot; he intends to take the money and escape to Rio before people find out about the danger.
- Daniel Plainview (Note the Meaningful Name) of There Will Be Blood.
- Paul F. Tomkins from Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny who turns out to actually be Satan.
- Although he isn't a corporate executive so much as a stage compere (Open Mike Guy).
- J.K. Robertson in the Mystery Science Theater 3000-fodder movie Time Chasers. He starts developing the protagonist's time machine as a weapon, destroys the future, refuses to not destroy the future for some reason, and eventually just starts shooting people in the Revolutionary War. Riffing was pretty harsh on the character.
Mike (as Robertson): Hi, I'm Bob Evil!
- "I leave for ten minutes, and Evil Co is in shambles!"
- Played for laughs with Tom Cruise's character from Tropic Thunder.
- Rutger Hauer's Richard Earle, from Batman Begins. Rapacious, cold, ruthless, swapping out philanthropy for weapons sales -- definitely not true to Thomas Wayne's legacy. (And demoting Morgan Freeman's Lucius to the basement!) Must have been the role model for Iron Man's Obadiah...
- Max Shreck from Batman Returns.
- Repo! The Genetic Opera has Rotti Largo, who used his corporation's wealth to push a bill legalising organ repossession through parliament.
- James McCullen AKA Destro in G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra.
- Ed Dillinger in Tron
- As mentioned above, Joseph Pulitzer in Newsies. He raises the wholesale price of his newspapers by 10% because he wants more money (and who cares about the starving homeless orphans who have to pay for it?). Later, when his actions have provoked a strike that actually costs him money, he still won't back down, because giving in to demands from ragged street kids would make him look weak.
- R. J. Fletcher from Weird Al Yankovic's 1989 film UHF.
- Ian Hawke from the Alvin and The Chipmunks film series. In the first film, he discourages Dave from furthering his music career at the beginning, then once the Chipmunks get famous, he proceeds to spoil them, distance them from Dave, and tire them out from constant tours. It wasn't until the Chipmunks see Dave infiltrating one of their concerts that they realise Ian's a bastard in sheep's clothing. In the sequel, he is jobless, but plans to get his revenge by adopting the Chipettes and putting their Battle of the Bands audition on the Internet. They end up getting the opportunity to open for Britney Spears, and Ian puts it in top priority over the actual Battle of the Bands concert, threatening to barbecue them if they don't comply.
- Parker Selfridge in Avatar.
- William Easton in Saw VI seems to be this, but he doesn't quite fit the mold as shown each time he has to let someone die.
- Daniel Clamp, the Donald Trump parody in Gremlins 2 is something of a subversion; he's no great intellect and is more than a little thoughtless, vain, superficial and shallow, but underneath it all he seems to have a genuinely good heart. Reportedly he was supposed to be one of these played straight, but John Glover -- no stranger to playing villains -- was reportedly sick of doing the same thing and decided to play against the script.
- Jack Bennett, the CEO of Northmoor in Edge of Darkness. Not only is he secretly working to make dirty bombs for the US government under the guise of nuclear disarmament, he does not hesitate to fatally irradiate environmental activists or even his own employees to keep it quiet.
- Sidney J. Mussburger in The Hudsucker Proxy.
- In Dogma, Bartleby and Loki visit a board of executives and reveal each and every one (save for one female board member) to be Complete Monsters guilty of something horrible. The worst of them has more skeletons in his closet than the rest of the board put together. After messing with their heads, Loki kills them all except the aforementioned woman (and he nearly offs her for not saying 'God bless you' when he sneezed).
- Subverted in Inception where Saito may be willing to use corporate espionage and screw with his business opponent's mind but he's a man of honor through and through. When faced with one of Cobb's partners trying to sell him out, instead of taking the guy up on his offer he has him restrained, tells Cobb what the guy tried to do, and gives Cobb the chance to have revenge. In that same scene, he has Arthur and Cobb cornered but he still gives them the choice to work for him or walk away instead of blackmailing them as you would expect from any other corporate hack in movies these days.
- Right before The Caper begins, Saito dismisses Cobb's worries that he'll be arrested as soon as the plane lands by saying that as soon as the job is done he'll make a single phone call which will get Cobb past Immigration. At the job's end, despite having just spent decades of subjective time in Limbo and finally returning to reality...the first thing he does is pick up the phone, just as promised.
- The Net has Bill Gates Captain Ersatz Jeff Gregg, who uses the Xanatos Gambit of a cyberterrorist ring to convince the US Government to use his anti-virus program - which is programmed with a backdoor to allow those in the know easy access.
- Al Pacino's character John Milton in The Devil's Advocate is not only evil, he is actually Satan.
- Gatewood in Stagecoach.
- Really averted in Local Hero - an American oil company is planning to buy a coastal village in Scotland to turn into a refinery/distribution center, and the villagers are all delighted at the prospect of selling out. Meanwhile, the CEO's main interest seems to be what's in the night sky there.
- Robo Geisha: Both Hikaru Kageno and his father, Kenyama, heads of the Kagano Steel Manufacturing corporation. They kidnap and force young women into becoming their personal assassins, attempt to murder anyone and everyone who gets in their way, and they ultimately desire to destroy Japan to achieve their goals.
- Robert, to an extent, in Mystery Team.
- Travis from Congo is so obsessed with making money that he sends out multiple expeditions into the dangerous African jungle to search for diamonds that will make his company billions of dollars. When the members of the expeditions keep dying off, he doesn't care. He just sends more people out in the hopes that at least one of them will retrieve the diamonds.
- Alonzo Hawk in Herbie Rides Again.
- Occurs several times in David Wingrove's Chung Kuo series
- In Roald Dahl's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, it is mentioned that Willy Wonka's first factory was put out of business due to his recipes getting stolen by CCEs via corporate espionage. This is a major reason why Wonka hires Oompa Loompas, because they are completely loyal to him. As a subplot in the first film adaptation, Charlie is approached by a CCE who tries to convince Charlie to spy on Wonka for him (fortunately, it's only a Secret Test of Character, and Charlie refuses anyway).
- British sci-fi author Peter F. Hamilton deliberately set out to invert this trope with Julia Evans, the young idealistic CEO of Event Horizon, in his trilogy about psychic-detective Greg Mandel. She keeps most of her industry in Britain to provide work and a strong economy (of course, this also increases Event Horizon's power and influence within Britain) and quashes potentially harmful technologies rather than make a profit from them.
- Newman King, founder and CEO of the eponymous retail chain of Bentley Little's The Store. Whereas the average CCE causes suffering as a side-effect of their ruthless pursuit of profit, King and his organization go out of their way to cause completely unnecessary suffering on top of the side-effects of his ruthless pursuit of profit. The company's corporate motto might as well be "For the Evulz." The Store sets up shop in small towns, buys the local government and puts small business owners out of business, like a relatively normal company might. But then it also does things like buy up the town's utilities so it can spy on people's phone calls and e-mails, murder small business owners, , force employees to go out and beat the homeless, stock child pornography and other bizarre, illegal products, whore out female employees, sic zombies on people, trick a man into having sex with his own daughter and send his wife the videotape of it, etc.
- Derek Leech in assorted fiction by Kim Newman; a living embodiment of Thatcherism or an Anonymous Ringer of Rupert Murdoch crossed with Satan himself.
- Reacher Gilt from Terry Pratchett's Going Postal. Essentially John Galt from Atlas Shrugged reincarnated as a Magnificent Bastard, he runs the Grand Trunk (essentially a pre-telegraph version of Western Union) and is willing to run the machines until they fall apart (and kill off the operators as needed) in the name of extra money. In fact, he's a con artist like Moist von Lipwig, the book's protagonist, but worse because he has more ambition and even fewer scruples; it's eventually revealed he plans to run the company into the ground and buy it at rock-bottom prices under an alias, just to see if he can get away with it.
- Is that all you can think of? The man kills so many people he keeps a banshee around full-time as an assassin. In a city which has an Assassins' Guild. He stole the entire Grand Trunk and drove its inventors into poverty.
- The villains of Atlas Shrugged are the Robber Baron variety with an emphasis of power (or 'pull') over money, complete with public welfare projects in order to smooth over the various crimes they commit.
- This occurs many times in the Destroyer. The example that comes to mind is the Executive of the Vox network trying to take over a rival via using the Evil AI FRIEND.
- The emissaries from the Western Galactic Empire in Robert Zubrin's The Holy Land, who arrange for the export of helicity from Earth. They seem like average sorts until it becomes obvious that the technology they help Earth import in exchange is used to murder hundreds of billions of innocent people and transform America into a totalitarian regime, and yet their biggest worry is the imminent formation of a Space OPEC that cuts into profit margins.
- Guilder Worlin in the third book of Warhammer 40000: Gaunt's Ghosts, who doesn't hesitate to murder anyone who gets wind of his illegal operations and inadvertently leaves the door open for an invasion of the city.
- Battlefield Earth's Psychlos have a disproportionate number of corrupt corporate executives: Big Bad Terl's whole plan is to get access to some gold off the company records, and is able to
blackmailgain "leverage" over his boss by exposing the latter's embezzlements. Their race even has company regulations allowing planetary overseers to take whatever actions deemed necessary to ensure a profit.
- Felix Jongleur, founder and owner of J Corp in Tad Williams' Otherland, seems to feel that it's his right as the oldest living human being to use his financial power to find a way to cheat death, regardless of the cost in terms of money, lives, or morality.
- In Tom Holt's J.W. Wells series, many of the members of the board of executives of the eponymous company are like this, and since the company supplies magical services to anyone able to pay enough, the members of the company often have supernatural powers themselves. Both Professor van Spee and Judy di Castel'bianco try to take over the world before being neutralized by the hero, and Dennis Tanner is universally regarded as a highly unscrupulous jerk, though not as evil as some of his colleagues. The latest book, The Better Mousetrap features another corrupt executive from a rival company, who has people killed on a regular basis until she is sent back in time and her magical abilities are neutralized.
- In Sebastian Faulks' A Week In December, John Veals may qualify, given that he's only out to make as much money as possible and to do it legally - ethics aside.
- Able Team. Unomondo, who controls powerful business interests in Central and South America, funds Bananna Republics and death squads, and is the Big Bad behind a neo-Nazi conspiracy with sympathisers in the US Government itself. Probably the closest thing that series had to a recurring villain.
- Maximum Ride. Just Maximum Ride. Pretty much every antagonist in the series is one of these.
- Geryon from Percy Jackson and The Olympians is a more rustic version of this, essentially making him a combination of Corrupt Corporate Executive and Corrupt Hick
- Subverted in Fletch and the Widow Bradley by Gregory McDonald, where Fletch is drawn into a story that seems to revolve around a Corrupt Corporate Executive but really, the lies, half-truths and doctored documents all turn out to be the result of the CEO's convoluted personal life, for which Fletch and the reader feels empathy.
- Pavel Kazakov from the Dale Brown novel Warrior Class. A Russian oilman with the goal of building an oil pipeline in the Balkans as part of re-strengthening the Fatherland, he is feared even by the Russian higher-ups, rumoured to be a powerful Mafiya boss and druglord and certainly in possession of much violent power.
- Marc Vilo (and to some degree, the rest of the Board of Governors) in The Acts of Caine.
- Jon Spiro from the Artemis Fowl: The Eternity Code, has an alliance with the Chicago mob, and states that he intends to spend the last 20 years of his life bleeding the planet dry with the stolen 'Cube' supercomputer; once he's gone, the world can go to hell with him for all he cares.
- The Privy Council of the Sten Series is a Five-Bad Band of CCE's, whose ruthless money-grubbing is eclipsed only by their perverse proclivities.
- Occasional antagonists in the Bolo universe.
- The Darhel, from John Ringo's Posleen War Series, is an entire race of CCEs. Human CCEs also are seen here and there in the series.
- Rod Portlyn from the Starfleet Corps of Engineers series. How corrupt is he? He deliberately poisoned an entire colony world to induce crop failures, then came in to buy the increasingly useless land. He kept the farmers on as workers and thus earned their gratitude by "saving them" from bankruptcy. He turned another world in the same star system into a dumping ground for garbage, and he later tries to murder its population. All in the name of profit, obviously.
- Red Hammernut from Carl Hiaasen's Skinny Dip.
- GalacTech's executives in Lois McMaster Bujold's Falling Free.
- Sir John Charnage from the Young Bond novel Double or Die.
- Xanatos, Qui-Gon's former apprentice in Jedi Apprentice, is the head of Offworld, one of the largest mining consortiums in the galaxy. Under his control, Offworld has stripped numerous planets of their resources, blackmailed and/or bribed governments, and backed criminal politicians on several planets. Its front company UniFy in The Day of Reckoning is no better, keeping the population of Telos pacified with Bread and Circuses while they stripmine the planets holy spaces, and contaminate their sacred pools with chemicals. And that's leaving out the fact that Offworld is also involved with the illegal slave trade, and Xanatos' terrorist vendetta against the Jedi.
- Morgan Sloat in The Talisman at first. However, the truth is slightly more complicated and involves alternate realities.
- There are many of these in Daemon, working with unsavoury Private Military Contractors to try and preserve the status quo.
- Transformers Trans Tech story "I, Lowtech" has protagonist Bulletbike, whose only redeeming quality is that he's technically never broken a law or directly injured anyone. Then he gets worse. His Arch Enemy Ego is no better, and it's implied There Are No Good Executives period.
- Transformers Shattered Glass has the human R.J. Blackrock, who turns out to be Playing Both Sides so he can later kill all of the Cybertronians for his own benefit.
- Max Barry's Machine Man has The Manager, head of Better Future. The bastard even smirkingly admits to putting an EMP in Lola's heart. Well. At least before Dr. Neumann kills him via Destination Defenestration.
- The Onceler from The Lorax.
- Peter Sharpe of the Prometheus Corporation, from The Chronicles of Professor Jack Baling, describes the Prometheans as shepherds and humanity as sheep. Two guesses on how much value he assigns to the lives of people who aren't "enlightened."
Live-Action TV Edit
- Grossberg, the first head of Network 23 on Max Headroom, is so archetypal that every Corrupt Corporate Executive since has, perhaps unintentionally (or indirectly, by way of Gordon Gekko of Wall Street), paid him homage. Specific foibles of the character type that he manifested include an almost Bishonen level of grooming, slicked-back hair, and a severe facial tic.
- Ziktor of VR Troopers was essentially a Grossberg clone, with the added twist that he was also secretly a monstrous being from Another Dimension.
- JAG: used often as defense contracters will sell faulty equipment. Any military officer who aids them is always a junior officer.
- Anton Mercer of Power Rangers Dino Thunder was at first almost indistinguishable from Ziktor. His twist, though, was that he wasn't actually evil: he was just acting that way to keep anyone from noticing that he was in a Jekyll and Hyde relationship with the series Big Bad.
- Jim Profit (Profit) was another in the Grossberg line -- and he was the central character of the show.
- Though it must be said that Profit isn't exactly corrupt: granted, he does some very unethical things, but he does them to people who turn out to be far more corrupt and/or actively dangerous than he.
- Say what? In the second episode, he framed an innocent man for murder and had him sent to prison for 20 years. The man's crime? Knowing that Profit framed his predecessor for corporate espionage and murdered his father!
- Uh, no. That man was not innocent. Profit would never have framed him if he hadn't been trying to frame Profit for the murder of someone who'd died of natural causes--Profit just hung the frame he'd created on him.
- Say what? In the second episode, he framed an innocent man for murder and had him sent to prison for 20 years. The man's crime? Knowing that Profit framed his predecessor for corporate espionage and murdered his father!
- Though it must be said that Profit isn't exactly corrupt: granted, he does some very unethical things, but he does them to people who turn out to be far more corrupt and/or actively dangerous than he.
- Edward Vogler from House was a very classic example.
- Gene McLennen and Jonas Hodges in 24 (as well as a handful of others throughout the series).
- A good pre-80s example is Tobias Vaughn from the Doctor Who story The Invasion. As noted above, he was very much a corporate Blofeld.
- Also, The Collector from the 4th Doctor episode The Sun Makers - defeated when the Doctor taxed him to death.
- And there's Morgus from The Caves of Androzani, who murdered the president, conducted industrial sabotage on his own company, arranged for vagrants to toil in his work camps and perpetuated a planetary civil war just to keep his profit margins acceptably high.
- The new series of Doctor Who has Henry van Statten, whose computer company is based on stolen Imported Alien Phlebotinum including an imprisoned Dalek, and Vaughn's Alternate Universe successor, John Lumic, creator of new Cybermen. Plus Kazran Sardick from the 2010 Christmas special, a man so bitter that he was going to let 4003 people die in a spaceliner crash - not for the LOLZ, not because he was evil, but because he just didn't care. Also the Editor from "The Long Game", and Max Capricorn from "Voyage of the Damned".
- Most of the villains who appeared in Knight Rider and The A-Team were of the combination Corrupt Corporate Executive/Corrupt Hick variety.
- Everyone initially in Wolfram and Hart of Angel. Especially Holland Manners.
- Likewise, most of the higher-ups at Rossum, though the person at the top is not.
- It is subtly implied that Firefly's Blue Sun Corporation is behind some of the trauma River Tam suffered while at the Academy; for example, in the episode "Shindig" she attacks several food cans with the Blue Sun logo on them, and in "Ariel" she takes a butcher knife to one of Jayne's shirts bearing the corporation's logo -- while he's still wearing it (though it is also argued that she did this because she knew that Jayne would try to sell her and Simon out to the Alliance later).
- Tony Soprano from The Sopranos sort of counts as this.
- In the same vein as the above, Russell "Stringer" Bell" of The Wire has very clear aspirations to become a CCE and ascend from his status as just a drug kingpin, and takes economics classes at a community college and starts buying up housing properties to this effect. His own ruthless, double-dealing nature comes back to haunt him, though, and he's killed before any of these plans can come into fruition.
- There's also Frank Sobotka, who is a corrupt labor union official/harbor foreman. Unfortunately for him, Redemption Equals Death when his "business partners" find out that he was about to talk to the cops.
- Subverted in The Sarah Connor Chronicles, where ZieraCorp is a company run by a rather creepy woman named Catherine Weaver, who acquires the Turk supercomputer. Weaver turns out to be a T-1001, but is actually on humanity's side in trying to prevent Judgment Day and defeat Skynet.
- SCTV satirised this with the characters Guy Cabalero (played by Joe Flaherty) and Mayor Tommy Shanks (played by John Candy). Another John Candy character that qualifies as this is Johnny LaRue.
- One of the stock bad guy types on MacGyver.
- Alec Baldwin's Jack Donaghy on Thirty Rock. Jack is rather sympathetic by the usual standards of the character type, but that really doesn't say much. Devon Banks, Jack's rival, may be a better example.
- Damon in Enlightened is an example of this trope. Abaddonn is already shaping up to be a pretty nasty company on its own merits, added to which he is up to dodgy financial practices.
- Domyoji Kaede, at least in the j-drama continuity of Hana Yori Dango is implied to use unethical practices to secure her company's massive, monopoly-esque corporate empire.
- The Korean Series version of the above example, Boys Before Flowers, has the Evil Matriarch systematically destroying her son's love interest's livelihood, while manipulating the corporate empire she created. This includes telling her own children that their father died when in fact he was in a stroke-induced coma.
- Another example of a Korean Drama is Can You Hear My Heart. CEO Choi delibrately witholds oxygen to his ill father-in-law in order to inherit the company. And that's just for starters...
- Just about every CEO defendant on Law and Order exemplifies this trope.
- Vexcor's Essa Rompkin and Brion Boxer, the Big Bads of Charlie Jade. As heads of a literally above the law Mega Corp, bribery and having people killed are child's play for them. The really impressive bits are Boxer's plan to steal the water from a parallel earth to replenish the one his company's polluted, a process which will destroy a third universe as a side-effect, or how, to rejuvenate the decrepit Boxer, Essa calls employees up to her office and forces them on the spot to consent -- under the threat that they and their family will almost certainly be condemned to poverty if they refuse -- to a fatal medical procedure wherein Boxer essentially drains the life out of them.
- Despite the show ostensibly being about ninjas, the most common villain on The Master (known to Mystery Science Theater 3000 fans as Master Ninja) would be one of these. It might explain why the show didn't last more than thirteen episodes.
- Every member of the Planet of Hats Ferengi race, if they were high enough in business to be considered an executive. Their race doesn't distinguish between corrupt and non-corrupt, as long as you make a profit.
- Their government taxes bribes. 'Nuff said.
- So does ours. (USA) You report it on line 21 of the form 1040.
- Their government taxes bribes. 'Nuff said.
- The villains on Damages. Unless they're Dirty Cops who just work for one.
- The NID from Stargate verse, though they only wanted to get access to alien tech. After they got rooted out, the Trust took over instead.
- Richard "Dick" Roman from series seven of Supernatural. It's hard to get much more corrupt than "possessed by the leader of the abominations God dumped in Purgatory for everyone's safety".
- B.P. Richfield of Dinosaurs, who's willing to do anything to make a profit, including causing an Ice Age that will kill the dinosaurs. His only thought was that heaters, blankets, and cocoa were selling like hotcakes.
- Smallville: Lionel Luthor and his son/successor, Lex, used their company, LuthorCorp to perform illegal experiments, research and try to control alien life, and increase their own personal power and wealth no matter who got hurt in the process; Lex's Number Two, Regan Matthews ends up being one by default due to his Undying Loyalty to his boss. Tess Mercer, who replaced the Luthor's at the company's helm, is a different variation: a Well-Intentioned Extremist who used her position to try and force Clark, her chosen Messiah into becoming a hero, via the blackest means possible. Then there's Earth-2 Lionel, who managed to combine this trope with Diabolical Mastermind, fusing their Mega Corp with the Metropolis underworld and essentially becoming The Emperor. The show also has a subversion in Green Arrow/Oliver Queen, who while a definite Anti-Hero is one of the strongest forces for justice in-series.
- Leverage lives and breathes by this trope. Nearly every Asshole Victim in a given episode is either a mega-corporate exec or the country hick version of this, with a preference for going after the former. Word of God has stated that many of their villain/victims are based heavily on real corrupt executives and real crimes that they've committed, with only the tiniest bit of embellishment -- and that in some cases, the fictional version has been toned DOWN from their real-life counterpart because the real thing just wouldn't seem believable to TV audiences.
- The song of the page quote.
- Iron Maiden's "El Dorado" is mostly told through the point of view of one of those.
- As is UFO's "A Self Made Man".
- The eponymous character of Ray Stevens' "Mr. Businessman."
"You can wheel and deal the best of them/Steal it from the rest of them/You know the score/Their ethics are a bore."
Professional Wrestling Edit
- Vince McMahon played the part for most of the late '90s in the WWF, with his counterpart Eric Bischoff playing basically the same part in WCW. A decade later, both were doing the same schtick in the merged WWE. Paul Heyman later picked it up in the revived ECW.
- After his run in APA, Bradshaw became John Bradshaw Layfield (or "JBL") and, playing off his legitimate success in the stock market, became a J.R. Ewing-inspired robber baron who did anything he could to capture and then keep the WWE Championship, keeping a stranglehold on the belt for nine months before losing to rising star John Cena. JBL often belittled anyone below his perceived class status and often threw his money around to get what he wanted. This was exemplified in his early 2009 run when he employed a broke Shawn Michaels to help him take the WWE Championship from Cena.
Tabletop Games Edit
- In Misspent Youth by Robert Bohl, if the group creates a Corporate villain, then it will no doubt include corrupt and rotten CE Os. It's a game where you play bomb-throwing anarchist teenagers who are out to upend a Dystopia that has it out for them personally.
- Anyone in a CEO position at Pentex in Werewolf: The Apocalypse. Those not in the know merely believe that the company plays fast and loose with environmental regulations and human rights laws to deliver cheap-to-produce product to a demanding audience. Those in the Inner Circle know that the company is actually an extension of the Wyrm, the universal embodiment of decay and corruption and that their products are stuffed full of Bane spirits that play on humanity's negative emotions -- and they don't care if the company makes a profit or not, because they're all licking the Wyrm's filth-encrusted boots.
- Technically, anyone not in the know shouldn't realize Pentex even exists as an entity; it should just look like a bunch of shady but independent companies that are all in each others' pockets.
- Orpheus, also from the Old World of Darkness, has a number of standout examples among the ghost-tech corporations: the drug-manufacturing head of Terrel & Squib, the ex-blood diamond baron that leads the mercenaries of Next World, and even the unethical experimenting of the founders of Orpheus itself.
- The corebook also wryly notes Orpheus' complex backs up to one of Pentex's.
- Cyberpunk 2020 has the character class "Corporate". While you are not required to be corrupt, is there really any fun in role playing a normal executive?
- The various corporations and megacorporations that run much of the show in Shadowrun.
- Of course, out of all the Corps in the Sixth World, Aztechnology takes the cake. Not only are they the largest practitioners of Blood Magic in the world (A type of magic so evil that before Dunkelzahn sacrificed himself to fuel a Mana-Absorbing Artifact, every spell a blood mage cast would bring the Endofthe World As We Know It a bit closer),but the board of directors also has connections with The Horrors! They've come incredibly close to having an Omega Order called out on them by the Corporate Court, but their squeaky clean public image has allowed them to prosper. After all, who would believe that the company behind the Stuffer Shack would want to bring about the end of the world?
- The Chrysalis Corporation in Cthulhu Tech takes it to a whole new level, insofar as their Director is actually Nyarlathotep. Don't think anyone else is gonna be toppin' that one any time soon.
- Forgotten Realms in its Cloak and Dagger lore has a lot of big traders and merchant cabals ranging from unscrupulous to mafia-like to fiendish (quite literally).
- Eberron has many opportunities for this, since the dragonmarked houses are essentially magical Zaibatsu.
- Caldwell B. Caldwell from the Broadway play Urinetown set 20 minutes into the future in a world with a severe water shortage. His company forces people to pay steep fees to use public restrooms (the only kind that exist anymore), and arrests anybody caught peeing without paying. A subversion in that as soon as he's overthrown everyone dies since his policies actually kept the water shortage from getting out of control.
- The board of directors of General Products in The Solid Gold Cadillac, composed of four stuffed shirts named T. John Blessington, Alfred Metcalfe, Warren Gillie and Clifford Snell.
- Friedrich Dürrenmatt's dark comedy, Frank The Fifth is about a bank which is owned and operated by solely such people. The bank uses all kinds of illegal methods, and routinely has customers and even employees murdered.
- Shylock is this in The Merchant of Venice, regardless of whether you consider him to be a sympathetic character or not. His love for his daughter is hopelessly confused with his love for his money, and his attempt at vengeance takes the form of a legal bond made over money. G. K. Chesterton regarded the play as "a medieval satire on usury...[T]he moral is that the logic of usury is in its nature at war with life, and might logically end in breaking into the bloody house of life. In other words, if a creditor can always claim a man's tools or a man's home, he might quite as justly claim one of his arms or legs."
Video Games Edit
- Syndicate, the game series that lets you play a Corrupt Corporate Executive.
- The Armored Core series runs off of this trope
- Act of War's Consortium is a bunch of corrupt business executives who use terrorism as an excuse to jack up oil prices, and also happen to finance several terrorist organisations.
- Army of Two combines this trope with Private Military Contractors in the form of the heroes' own military corporation, SSC, whose leadership is plotting to privatize the United States military so they can take over the country.
- The villains of Baldur's Gate is the Iron Throne trading company which just wants to make a shitload of money, but it's later revealed that the adopted son of the local leader is just using them for his much grander scheme.
- Crey Industries in City of Heroes, which has its own black ops teams and engages in kidnappings, employee brainwashing, and shakedowns regularly (then bribes the judges or claims "rogue employee" when caught in the act). Alarmingly, a lot of the technology that keeps the city running smoothly was built and sold by them, making them seem more respectable to the public than they really are.
- Critical Depth has both Dana Nagel, CEO of Mondred Corp, who plans to use the mysterious Pods to exploit for profit, and Sebastion Titan, head of Titan Industries, whose plans border on downright world domination.
- The WEC is the big bad in the Crusader series of games. If you are a bad guy and not a robot or a soldier, you are a Corrupt Corporate Executive. 'No exceptions. The office politics would make Machiavelli have a nervous breakdown.
- Bob Page is Deus Ex's Corrupt Corporate Executive Villain with Good Publicity, taking refuge in the unlikelihood of anyone digging deeper.
- David Sarif from Deus Ex Human Revolution is a downplayed version, coupled with a healthy dose of Utopia Justifies the Means: While he does and orders some very shady things (such as purposely sticking a bunch of unnecessary military augs into Adam to make him his own private killer cyborg, his covert investigation of Adam's past, and refusing to let police rescue hostages in one of his factories so his private killer cyborg can keep corporate secrets away from the public eye), he's shown to be a benevolent idealist at heart and genuinely believes that what he's doing is for the benefit of all humanity. Zhao Yun Ru is a straight example, though.
- Arius of Devil May Cry 2 , who seeks and wields demonic power for world domination while publicly the head of the international Uroboros corporation.
- The Shinra Electric Power Company in Final Fantasy VII, with the exception of Reeve. Shinra's main industry in the game seems more "World Domination" than "Electric Power". Or "Weapons Manufacturer" before even that.
- Genevive Aristide and her company, Armacham Technology Corporation, from First Encounter Assault Recon, are so corrupt that they have no qualms with murdering their own employees in sight of federal agents and then killing those same agents with uniformed security guards. Nor do they hesitate to arrange for a nuclear explosion in the middle of a large, populated city - and this is just the cover-up for even worse things they've done.
- Adrian Ripburger in adventure game Full Throttle is another example of a villainous vice-exec with a benign superior. Since he murders said superior and takes his place relatively early in the game, however, the distinction is probably moot.
- The Korx in Galactic Civilizations are the literal embodiment of this stereotype -- the government and the whole planet are run by one company. So when you play as their leader, technically you are a CEO. Ironically the system works well: everything they have is capital and hence valueable (although they are max evil). Unfortunately their neighbors are externalities...
- Similarly, the Morganites of Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri operate as a collective of businesses under their leader who is, by default, titled CEO. While not instrinsically evil like the Korx, the faction can be played as amorally as you, the CEO, desire.
- In the Civ-clone Call To Power series, one of the government models you discover in the Modern Age is the Corporate Republic, where corporations assume the role of government agencies. So once again, if you're evil and head the main business in charge of the government...
- Goldman from House of the Dead initially appears to be one of these, but then he turns out to be much more.
- The Glukkons in the Oddworld game series are similar to the aforementioned Druuge -- an entire species of out-of-control capitalists. Their lives revolve around harvesting the animals on their planet, processing them, and selling them as snack food. By the time of the first game, Abe's Oddyssee, they've driven one race into extinction (the Meeches) and the others are rare. Thus, they turn on their slave race, the Mudokons, and attempt to turn them into their next product. In the second game, Abe's Exoddus, they've taken to making a soft drink from Mudokon bones and tears.
- Stranger's Wrath gives us Sekto, the owner of Sekto Springs, a water bottle selling company that made a dam around the Mongo River region, damaging the wasteland and making life difficult for the native Grubbs.
- Chairman Drek, the Big Bad of Ratchet & Clank, had a far-reaching, planet-looting scheme for making endless profits, the thwarting of which was Clank's sole motivation throughout the first game.
- And then there's Gleeman Vox from Ratchet: Deadlocked.
- Mitsuko Isurugi from Super Robot Wars Original Generation 2 is able to plan with all sides except for the Einst, simply because all sides know that she will only look out for herself, and wants the war to continue so she can profit off of it. The only reason she doesn't work for the Einst is because they're Eldritch Abominations and she can't make money off of them.
- And on a lighter note, Wario's role in the Wario Ware series is as one of these, but as an Anti-Hero' rather than a villain. He's a lazy, greedy bastard with terrible hygiene problems, but the Rule of Funny and Rule of Fun get him a free pass via his microgames.
- Max Payne's Big Bad is Nicole Horne, head of the Aesir Corporation, a member of the Inner Circle, the twisted mind behind the nightmare drug Valkyr, and the one behind the murder of the title character's wife and baby girl.
- The planet Noveria in Mass Effect exists as a place for Corrupt Corporate Executives to operate and perform research outside the bounds of Citadel law.
- ExoGeni Corp is in charge of the colony on Feros where it conducts experiments on the colonists, allowing the telepathic Thorian creature to exercise its control over them so its researchers can observe the effects. After Shepard's intervention, ExoGeni attempts to wipe out the entire colony. Later in the game, ExoGeni employees' experiments with Thorian creepers lead to disaster after the Feros mission when the creatures go berserk and kill most of them. The last surviving researcher attempts to bribe Shepard to prevent her arrest.
"Tell your assassin to aim for the head... 'cause she doesn't have a heart."
- And before Noveria, BioWare worked this trope through Knights of the Old Republic with Czerka. Two planets worth of slavery, genocide, environmental damage, and other shady practices. A light-side Player Character can scam them mercilessly and get away with it. In the sequel, they're at it again, trying to screw over Telos, getting cozy with the Exchange (mobsters), and the local rep overrunning the place with mercenaries and paid thugs to subvert the Telosian Security Force.
- The Umbrella Corporation in Resident Evil. Notably, when the government finally had evidence of Umbrella's misdeeds in the Time Skip before Resident Evil 4, they destroyed the company by freezing their business practices, crashing their stock price and driving them into bankruptcy - it doesn't matter how powerful a corporation you are, if you can't do business, you die.
- And the shadowy Other Corporation Albert Wesker works for. And the Raccoon City Police Department. And most of the S.T.A.R.S management. And really any organisation in the Resident Evil games.
- Perennial villain of the Daiku no Gensan / Hammerin' Harry series, Hyosuke Kuromoku. Not coincidentally, his company uses modern-style construction workers, while hero Genzo/Harry is a traditional Japanese carpenter, and heroine Kanna is the heir to the company that employs him.
- The entire Zaibatsu Corporation in Grand Theft Auto 2.
- Persona 3 has Tanaka, whose Social Link is The Devil and spends his time with the player talking about doing shady business (but not before making the protagonist pay him as an "investment"), though his interactions with the Main Character will encourage him to consider philanthropic work, if only for the purpose of having the people he may potentially help owe him.
- Saints Row 2 and Red Faction had the Ultor corporation. Doing anything to earn a buck off Stillwater's middle and wealthy classes, they will not hesitate to exploit workers, start gang wars and bring in heavily armed men to protect investments.
- Master Zilla of Zilla Enterprises from Shadow Warrior. His forays into evil sorcery and his plans to take over Japan with his summoned monsters was what prompted Lo Wang to quit the corporation. When Zilla tried to have Lo Wang killed, Lo Wang took the fight to him.
- The Druuge from Star Control II are a whole Planet of Hats of Corrupt Corporate Executives. Marriages are entirely based on contracts, and any offspring who reach maturity are forced to pay a percentage of their income to their parents. Every member of the race works for the Crimson Corporation, which owns everything on all Druuge-occupied planets, including air. Thus, anyone who is laid off from the Crimson Corporation is accused of poaching company property, and either executed or sent to be used as crew/emergency fuel on a Mauler-class spaceship. All the while, the Druuge are trying to stab each other (and other races) in the back and claw their way to the top of the corporate pyramid.
- Avery Carrington from Grand Theft Auto Vice City, also a Corrupt Hick. He's not an antagonist though, being this a criminal simulator with allies and rivals rather than good and evil.
- Carrington also mentored Donald Love, who played this role in Grand Theft Auto III. They even have similar dialogue between the two games.
- Adrian DeWinter and the executives of Artemis Global Security in Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X. After getting contract with Brazil to fight Las Trinidas and fought a battle to defend Rio, the US intervened, making the stocks drop, so after a while, DeWinter accepts deal from Las Trinidas (because it pays better) and launched an all-out assault on USA, trying to assassinate the president, disabling country's missile defence system, and trying to nuke the country.
- Were it not for Edward Diego trying to cover up his corrupt antics, SHODAN would have just sat and quietly run Citadel Station.
- In Earthbound, Montoli ran the show in Fourside, and it was hinted he made a deal with Giygas to gain so much power. Many citizens complained the abuse of his power ruined their lives.
- Pokémon Platinum: Cyrus, the leader of Team Galactic. He runs a huge corporation, and even that is a facade for the true plan to make him a deity. Could also be considered a severe case of A God Am I.
- The CEO of Altru Corp. in Pokémon Ranger: Shadows of Almia is also the head of Team Dim Sun. The two are nigh-completely parallel - just replace "oil power" with "Pokémon power". Similarly, in XD, Mr. Verich is an obscenely rich man bribing the sailors of Gateon Port, and is likely the man who made a load of Poké through the mines under Pyrite Town. Given he's the man in charge of Cipher, doesn't it make more sense that he'd finance the construction of Realgam Tower, which served as Evice/Es Cade's base of operations in Colosseum?
- Ayano of Ar tonelico is introduced as one of these, as the head of the villainous Tenba Corporation. It turns out she's not, and everything bad about the company is actually Bourd's fault. Once he's out of the way, she makes sure it's reformed.
- Chief Blank from Space Channel 5 is a loon who'll do anything to get high ratings, including brainwash the masses.
- Heihachi and Kazuya Mishima from the Tekken series probably count. Jinpachi was a benevolent CEO, but Heihachi quickly corrupted it, and Kazuya was even worse (e.g. smuggling endangered animals, which brought Jun Kazama into the picture).
- No mention of Bioshock? The city was practically built for these guys. Fontaine and Sinclair stand out.
- In Spore, a player can evolve their species into one of these by sticking in the middle path (getting either three or all blue cards) as the Trader archetype, which the game defines "... are in it for the profit; their allegiance is to the almighty sporebuck". This idea really can be played out, in which a trader empire will generally have lowered prices for all general purchases and colony tools, as well as to have the cash infusion super power (which doesn't have a penalty with local empires), which simply allows the progress bar for a system's trade to fill up instantly, allowing you to buyout the planet if you have the cash. Factor it in with the ability to farm spice and the fact that only zealot and warrior type empires (as well as the the Grox) are your only sworn enemies, you can literally take over a large chunk of the galaxy just through simple exploration and trade and never even have to fight until you're strong enough to do so. And they say money doesn't talk...
- Dravis of the Mega Corp PTMC in the Descent series.
- In Oiligarchy, you get to play as one of these, running an oil company that engages in every Captain Planet and the Planeteers-worthy crime imaginable.
- Uncle Richard from Modnation Racers.
- The recent "King of the Dwarves" quest of Runescape has the dwarves think the Consortium is that. The ultimate reason for that is the death of two miners in a cave-in, as the Consortium's forces, the Black Guard, was too busy saving the machines damaged in the same terrorism-based explosion to help them. The trope isn't played straight - the decision was necessary to avoid further disasters caused by the city's power supply being destroyed. This doesn't help with preventing all the civil unrest.
- Reaver in Fable III, the CEO of Reaver Industries. While his business ethics are already atrocious (destroying the environment and actively using child labor), Reaver himself, in his first cutscene of the game shows how he stomps out union protestors.
- Aperture Science CEO Cave Johnson apparently fits this to a T, especially in his later years when he had to resort to putting his own employees through tests, though he stands out mostly for being a Cloudcuckoolander and Crazy Awesome.
- Armstech and its president Kenneth Baker from the first Metal Gear Solid.
- Henry Leland, Chief of Development of Alpha Protocol's Halbech, inc. His character design and voice job appears to have been custom-tailored to make him look and sound as much as a corporate sleazebag as humanly possible, to say nothing of his smoking habits.
- Thonar Silverblood and Maven Black-Brair in Skyrim.
- Rich Dotcom in Mega Man Star Force 2. His diabolical plan to take over a hotel is to fake accidents and yeti sightings, thereby driving away customers until the owner has no choice but to sell! Naturally, the actual villains are using him like a chump for reasons that aren't really explained all that clearly.
- Trade Prince Gillywax of World of Warcraft in spades. When the volcano above Bilgewater Port began to erupt, he extorted a fortune from his own cartel for the right to board his ship. Once onbard, he locked them all in chains as his slaves. His later betrayal on the Lost Isles was not a surprise, but the fact that Thrall let him live and continue to lead the Cartel was.
- Averted in Asura's Wrath with Deus's Reincarnation, who takes time out of his work schedule to help an old man (Who is the emperor he ironically killed in his past life who reincarnated as well) cross a busy street. Olga is his Sexy Secretary.
- Phoenix Wright Ace Attorney brings us Redd White of Bluecorp in Case 1-2.
- And Kane Bullard in Case 3-2 ... except he's kinda dead before you meet him. He was one of these before hand though. I'll pinkyswear!
- Ace Attorney Investigations has Ernest Amano, part of Quercus Alba's smuggling ring, and a doting father who tried to use his vast fortune to stop the police from finding evidence to convict his son Lance (who was indeed the guilty party).
- The CEO of Cradle Pharmaceuticals in Nine Hours Nine Persons Nine Doors. Hongou recreated the Nonary Game to research telepathy, this time using children as the participants.
- Richard, the CEO of Nanotech in Bionic Heart, bribes the police into pursuing Tanya (the main character's android love interest) as a fugitive, illegally manufactures androids, and worst of all preserves people’s bodies so that he may place their brains into android bodies to do his bidding.
- Pretty much every member of Hereti Corp in Sluggy Freelance is one of these. Their company goal is world domination, after all.
- And now there's brutal industrialist Crustro and Mad Scientist Dr. Nofun, of their own corporations.
- Morguase in the modern arc of Arthur, King of Time and Space is a mild example. And Arthur's trying to convince her to be even less of one.
- Mr. Kornada, from Freefall.
- Anyone that works for FOX in Ansem Retort but particularly Ansem and Vexen. They secured the rights to Watchmen just to remind people of how evil they are.
- Any member of Tera Corp from Antihero for Hire almost certainly qualifies. However, it is worth noting that they have had a good amount of infighting. It would seem that one Corrupt Corporate Executive is not loyal to any other one.
- The RIAA in Quentyn Quinn, Space Ranger..... who are basically the real life RIAA, drawn out to their logical conclusion. They were so avaricious that they took to scanning dying people's brains on the grounds that their memories contained copyrighted materials. It did not end well for them.
- Vexxarr used "Is this the same Sony that..?" query for Even Evil Has Standards joke.
- The three directors of the Inter-Fiend Cooperation Commission in Order of the Stick are all styled after executives of hip new startup companies, using coorporate buzzwords ('A community-based grassroots organization dedicated to building bridges between the diabolic, daemonic and demonic populations') and adding disclaimers to their offers for souls, and of course they are literal directors of the IFCC, complete with business cards. While they make for a good Crowning Moment of Funny, they are still fiends and will screw you over with their deals.
- Mr Bunny, the Hoppy Computer Guy, Dark Lord of Microsoft Expy Ubersoft in Help Desk, along with his doubles at SCO and the RIAA. Being evil is what Ubersoft is about. That's why they've never had more than one help desk employee authorized to actually help people at any time (and he quit).
Web Original Edit
- The Onion: "'Layoffs Are Necessary If We Want To Keep The Lights On,' Says CEO Halfway Through Tasting Menu"
- Dr. Leonard J Alderman from LG15: the resistance, who doesn't hesitate to steal, kidnap, or torture providing it furthers the company's aims. He claims to be doing the world a service, but it's pretty clear he's really only interested in making a profit.
- The Hasbro Guy from the sequel to Three in The Afternoon, who's behind convincing Lucas and his corporations to mass-produce and sell lightsabers.
- In Arcana Magi, Oryn Zentharis, Vyndor, and The Board of Directors of Avalon Tech Enterprises want to use the Sentinels to dominate the economy and control the world.
- Darryl Walcutt, in the Whateley Universe. He's suspected of belonging to the Brotherhood of the Bell. His daughter Tansy is the supervillainess Solange, and we know he has illegally used her Psi talents for corporate espionage. And probably Blackmail.
- Benjamin Palmer and Lear Dunham from Broken Saints.
Western Animation Edit
- "That Guy", an 80s executive whose name we never learn, was a comic exaggeration of this trope on Futurama.
- The script for the episode referred to him as "Steve Castle."
- The villain known as "Mom" is also a CCE, who masquerades as a sweet, kindly old lady in public.
- Looten Plunder, from Captain Planet and the Planeteers, was of this type. He was also the only villain on the show whose motive for pillaging the Earth was all that plausible, most of the others having fantastic motives (Duke Nukem physically thrived on radiation) or doing it out of sheer malice.
- Hoggish Greedly was of the slovenly Corrupt Hick type. He didn't seem show outright malice for the environment, he usually just didn't care about it, and his motives were centered in obtaining vast amounts of money and resources as fast as possible. He also was a loving family man.
- Sly Sludge was a corrupt exec who focused on waste disposal (that is, dumping absurd amounts of toxic waste and garbage where-the-hell-ever), and was sleazy and sneaky. He often ran operations that would shrink garbage or compact it or incinerate it, but they either were fake or they backfired severely.
- About 50% of Dr. Blight's evil schemes revolved around making herself famous, rich or preferably both, including more than once when she teams up with one of the above characters for some malignant corporate venture. She usually supplies the hyper-advanced tech they need to do their thing. The other 50%, on the other hand, were pretty much messing up the environment for the heck of it.
- Plutarkian Lawrence Lactavius Limburger from the original 1993 Biker Mice From Mars series disguises himself as one of these in order to fulfill his people's mission as Planet Looters.
- Derek Powers from the first season of Batman Beyond typifies this trope.
- Lex Luthor in both Ruby-Spears Superman and Superman the Animated Series as well.
- Mercy Graves takes over LexCorp when Luthor is outed as a criminal in Justice League, and manages to bring it back into solvency by being not quite as corrupt as Luthor (or possibly just less maniacal).
- Roland Daggett from Batman the Animated Series.
- Ferris Boyle (also from Batman) is one of these as well; being responsible for turning Victor Fries into Mr. Freeze and supposedly killing his wife, Nora. Bonus for being voiced by Mark Hamill, before he became The Joker.
- Grant Walker (again from Batman), who blackmails Mr. Freeze into trying to make him immortal.
- Maxie Zeus (Batman again) is also depicted as a corporate executive who... well... went a little nuts after his stock crashed. The reason he became insane was because his success in crime made him think he was untouchable and godlike.
- Eric Raymond from Jem.
- Subverted by Jerrica 'Jem' Benton herself.
- Cyril Sneer from The Raccoons, but the trope is gradually subverted as the series progresses as he eventually grows a conscience and his principled son, Cedric, eventually takes over the business as a partner.
- Milton Midas on the other hand, is a much more straight example, as his actions of disposing toxic waste cause an entire lake to become contaminated.
- Mr. Burns in The Simpsons. He's dumped radioactive waste at public parks and playgrounds, sold weapons to the Nazis, stolen a trillion dollars in foreign aid money from the U.S. government, and (most famously) built a giant sun-blocking device to keep Springfield shrouded in perpetual darkness, all so his electric company could have a truly complete monopoly over the town's energy supply.
- Don't forget Russ Cargill from The Simpsons Movie.
- Although Russ Cargill is not so much corrupt, as his ultimate evil goal is to do his job. He's just slightly insane about the means to that end. Also the end.
- Don't forget Russ Cargill from The Simpsons Movie.
- Mr. Krabs from SpongeBob SquarePants is a somewhat more lovable example.
- HP, the Head Pixie from The Fairly Odd Parents. He's voiced by Ben Stein (as are the other pixies) and has got to be the most boring creature in Fairyworld.
- On Earth, we have Doug Dimmadome, owner of the Dimmsdale Dimmadome, who engages in Robber Baron behavior when plot dictates.
- He's not really that corrupt, he just doesn't give a darn...
- On Earth, we have Doug Dimmadome, owner of the Dimmsdale Dimmadome, who engages in Robber Baron behavior when plot dictates.
- Charles Foster Ofdensen of Metalocalypse, who is the Man Behind the Band, willing to have people killed and/or tortured (and sometimes doing it himself) for the sake of Dethklok's (his "Bread and Butter" by his own words) career.
- Somewhat subverted, as there is actually a greater evil out there, The Tribunal. Ofdensen's just preventing them from killing Dethklok.
- James Grishnack, producer of Dethklok's movie Blood Ocean in Season 1, has a fitting line for this trope: "I've been fucking over celebrities since you were all shitting in diapers!"
- Season 3 has Damien. He was the son of the executive that first signed Dethklok. He disliked death metal, and had a grudge against Nathan Explosion for punching him. Upon taking power from his ailing father, he cut off Dethklok's finances and shut down a concert in order to force Dethklok into signing a new contract, one that would give him the lion's share of profit. Only the timely intervention of the thought-dead Ofdensen stopped him, and he got punched by Nathan again for trying to attack Ofdensen.
- Also Dethharmonic:
I want to keep my money / And give away absolutely nothing
To the government who moderates my spending / and obliterates depending on what time of the year
brutality is near / in the form of income tax
I'd rather take a fucking axe / to my face, blow up this place
with you all in it, I'd do it in a minute / If I could write off your murder
I'd save all of my receipts / because I'd rather you be dead
than lose a tiny shred of what I made this fiscal year
I'd rather you be dead than ponder parting with my second home
I'd rather you be dead than consider not opening a restaurant
I'd rather you be dead
- Porter C. Powell from Transformers Animated. Just ask Sari Sumdac, who found herself kicked out of her own home as part of Powell's extremely hostile takeover of Sumdac Systems. He immediately rehires the clearly insane Henry Masterson, who had previously threatened to cause a nuclear meltdown on national TV, so he can break into the military market that Professor Sumdac kept the company out of. He then allows Masterson to steal Sentinel Prime's body and bails him out when he gets caught, on the basis that alien robots don't have rights. Don't worry, it all comes back to bite him.
Powell: There's no room for sentiment in business.
- In The Spectacular Spider Man, Norman Osborn, respected Oscorp CEO, has no qualms about stealing others' designs or tipping off the series Big Bad to competitors' product shipments. Worse still, he aides the Big Bad by creating Supervillains to pit against Spider-Man. In exchange for furthur funding, he and his scientist flunkie perform untested, possibly fatal experiments on uninformed subjects in a ramshackle lab, hoping to create the ideal supermercenary. He cares little if his subjects die, but if they go on criminal rampages, Oscorp gets contracted to develop containment methods. So much the better.
- This series version of Tombstone also is one.
- Mr. Boss from Codename: Kids Next Door.
- The Cogs, the various Mecha-Mooks from Toontown Online, are either this or a Yes-Man. So stuck-up that actually laughing damages them.
- The big-guy-versus-little-guy version is subverted by South Park in the "Gnomes" episode. Tweek's dad's coffee shop is threatened by the imminent arrival of a Starbucks-esque chain, and he conscripts the kids into encouraging the town to prevent this. However, the kids learn from the Underpants Gnomes that successful corporations often get that way because they have a better product. When the townsfolk actually try the chain's coffee, even Tweek's dad agrees it's far superior to what he was making, and the town relents.
- Much more recently is a evil, sadistic, foul-mouthed Mickey Mouse in the Jonas Brothers episode who plays this trope straight.
- Dan Halen from Squidbillies is not just an corrupt executive but an embodiment of pure evil whose company was founded to spread misery and death, going so far as to release a product called the Baby Death Trap.
- That was mostly so he could sue people referring to one of his other products as a "baby death trap", presumably under the guise of trademark protection (since the original product was probably too dangerous for a libel suit to hold up in court).
- Armando Gutierrez from Freakazoid! knew about the flaw that gave Dexter powers but refused to recall his product because it would affect sales. He is both voiced by and obviously physically modeled after Ricardo Montalban.
- Darkwing Duck's foe the Liquidator was once Bud Fludd, the owner of a bottled water company who was poisoning his competitor's water supply. An accident turned him into a water controlling supervillain, but his old traits stick around-for example, he once flooded the city so he could sell "Liquidator Brand life rafts" at a ridiculously inflated price.
- Flintheart Glomgold, Scrooge's rival from DuckTales (actually created by Carl Barks in the comics). He serves as an Evil Counterpart to Scrooge; Scrooge is also greedy, but unlike Glomgold, he's honest.
- W.C. Moore in Little Elvis Jones and The Truckstoppers owns pretty much the entire town the show is set in, and takes time out of his day to use his Berkonium marble to beat kids at marbles and take theirs for himself.
- Shere Khan is recast as one of these in Tale Spin.
- Oroku Saki/The Shredder from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2003 series is one of these. His supposed "office building" in New York is also the main headquarters of the Foot Clan. His adopted daughter, Karai, later inherits his position as CEO of his public corporation as well as head of the Foot Clan during his banishment at the end of one season.
- On Dilbert when the title character and Wally become part owners of their company they meet the other CEOs. Reading back the minutes of the last meeting one informs them that "we gave each other stock options, discussed ways to ignore the needs of others and Hamilton had a racial joke."
- Lucius on Jimmy Two Shoes. Though, considering that Misery Inc. already runs the town anyway, he's seen more as a dictator.
- Averted on Meet the Robinsons. The large company Inventco is responsible for mass-producing the evil robotic hats which end up enslaving humanity in one alternate timeline, but it's strongly implied they had no idea that this would happen. The real villain is actually the original hat itself. Otherwise, Inventco does nothing but positive things, sponsoring school science fairs and giving aspiring inventors a chance to make it big.
- Stavros Garkos, the main villain of the animated series Hurricanes, is the head of Garkos Enterprises and is usually seeking for dishonest ways to increase his wealth and/or turn his soccer team into world champions.
- The series also introduced a villain named Douglas Fir, whose character is similar to Garkos.
- Also in that series, when Napper Thompson's uncle died and left his fortune to him on the condition Napper never plays soccer again, Napper became the target of two villains who wanted to get the inheritance. One of the villains was the uncle's former business partner. Napper lost the inheritance but fortunately it was revealed neither villain was the appointed next heir.
- The Filmations Ghostbusters episode "The Battle for Ghost Command" features a man who illegally dumps toxic waste at the city's sewers, unknowingly attracting ghosts until the Ghostbusters discovered the truth.
- Mr. Big from Word Girl, who is an evil executive who had a tendency to brainwash people.
- Miles Axlerod, the real Big Bad of Cars 2.
- Subverted in the Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer holiday special: Austin Bucks is misguided and the Big Bad's original plot involves making a business deal with him, but he doesn't know about any of the villainous things she's done to achieve it and proves to be quite ethical.
- Magnacat in Monster Allergy appears as this in his human persona.
- Teamo Supremo's Will 2 Wynn.
- David Xanatos from Gargoyles. He is, however, Affably Evil and a loving family man so he's not as extreme as most examples.
- Ed Wuncler from The Boondocks.
- The newest version of Yoohoo and Friends has the main characters start as this prior to their Karmic Transformation.
- Dr. Robotnik in Adventures Of Sonic The Hegdehog.