"The NEVIC corporation, who are evil because they're a corporation in a sci-fi game. They might as well have been called There's Shit We're Not Telling You Ltd. Formerly traded as Hope You Haven't Watched Any AlienFilms Lately PLC."
Welcome to Evil Inc. We have many departments, including manufacturing weapons of mass destruction, genetically modifying orphan children to create super villains, and producing herbal soups made of weed. Chances are, you've heard of us, considering we are a publicly traded company with thousands of branches across the globe, as well as a few secret labs cleverly disguised as bakeries. Oh, and don't try to stop us, because chances are that you work for us. Have a nice day!
Evil Inc. is the standard Lex Luthor back-up plan: Create a front that, in case anything goes wrong, gives you the perfect alibi as well as the resources to start again. They will be one of three types:
Unassuming ("Milwaukee Bakery, The" actually being the front for an international terrorist group)
Suspicious but not too strange (PMCs, weapon developers, pharmaceutical companies, etc.)
Cartoonishly evil (look up Big Evil Corp.)
Regardless of which type, they will always have one basic goal: Take Over the World.
Often this is considered Camp, a Dead Horse Trope, or both in movies (excluding environmental ones). In video games, it's still running strong and considered a decent plot twist. And in (mainstream) comic books, LexCorp, and OsCorp have been running without interruption for decades, and are therefore still the medium's prime examples. Often this can be seen coming from a mile away, but the test for whether or not the hero is working for Evil Inc. is to ask whether his mission is some level of top secret or whether he ever saw the CEO's face. If the answer to the first question is yes and the second one no, congratulations! You're one of the bad guys!
Evil Inc. is likely to be ruled over by a Corrupt Corporate Executive.
When Evil Inc. would make more money without being used as an evil front, it's an example of Cut Lex Luthor a Check. When Evil Inc. is a legion of super heroes gone awry, it's a subversion of Heroes R Us. When it's actually succeeded, more or less, in taking over the world, it's turned into Mega Corp..
Also the name of a webcomic by Brad Guigar.
The High School AU fanfiction More Than Human has an evil corporation called John Smith (JS) Inc. The Rowdyruff Boys work for them in the Special Cases unit, which deals in weaponry, espionage, assassinations and other evil.
Virtucon from Austin Powers is a example of a fully functional Evil Inc. that was screwed over when Dr. Evil came back and insisted that they start working on doing nefarious deeds again.
PANTAC from "Dottor Jekyll e Gentile Signora" is a company which deliberately destroys economy of underdeveloped countries to gain cheap labour, and which produces poisonous food in prospect of selling cures for the maladies it induces.
The Shield Corporation from ''Highlander 2: The Quickening. The company's founder is the hero himself, who intended it as a bulwark against the depleted ozone layer. Alas, it is presently under the guidance of crooks who bilk consumers and governments for the service, and are covering up data showing the ozone layer has restored itself.
Leech Enterprises in Kim Newman's fiction. Its Corrupt Corporate Executive Derek Leech is actually the Devil, or something very close, and seems to have as his ultimate aim simply making the world a worse place, possibly to its destruction. (But on his terms; there have been two Enemy Mine situations when something else wanted to destroy the world.)
Manpower Incorporated from the Honor Harrington series. Their main product is genetic slaves. Unlike many examples, their own nature is plainly visible for the galaxy to see. Actually, Manpower is both a source of revenue and a distraction for the Mesan Alignment, which plans to Take Over The Galaxy.
In Kelley Armstrong's The Otherworld, back in the 16th century, the Sorcerers decided that they wanted to be the main supernatural power and duped the church into forming the Inquisition. Now, the Sorcerer cabals operate as massive, family-owned multinational corporations with more than their fair share of shady dealings...
The law firm Wolfram & Hart from Angel is a front for the Wolf, Ram, and Hart, a cabal of powerful demons commonly called the "Senior Partners". The firm's goals are to represent the evil and unnatural in mortal courts, further the aims of the Senior Partners to bring about the final Apocalypse, to keep man's inhumanity to man running smoothly, and grow their yearly profit margin.
It's also an awesomeEvil Lawyer Joke. Some of the lawyers really are soulless, bloodsucking monsters; the rest are only soulless by contract.
Compare to Buffy's "Highschool is Hell" reference to Sunnydale High being the Hellmouth.
Blood Over Water has Sleet Mountain, with its CEO Clyde Spendelworth. In the novel remake, he's revealed to be running an illegal sex slave trade, using his role as CEO of Sleet Mountain as a front. In the original miniseries, he was merely a con man who was ripping off the government and polluting a pond. The novel keeps the pollution and cleanup fraud theme, but expands to make Clyde unlikeable regardless of which end of the political spectrum you're on.
Aesir Pharmaceuticals in the orignal Max Payne. The company's founder, Nicole Horne, originally worked for a secret government project. When the super solider serum they were working on was discontinued, Horne stole and repackaged it as a designer street drug. Horne's laptop has info about other sundry world-domination plots, but Max confesses he isn't interested and shoots the monitor.
Data Dyne in Perfect Dark counts as this. They try to help an evil alien race retrieve a very powerful weapon. They try to kidnap the US president so they can use the government's submarine to reach said weapon. Prior to this, no one suspects them of any wrongdoing except the protagonist's organization.
While not the oldest example, Shinra Power Co. from Final Fantasy VII is the earliest example in Video Games. This is the company that drains the life of the planet (literally) to make a profit and they have a private army that they enjoy sending to quell anyone who opposes them. Story-wise, they are just stooges, accidentally unearthing a malevolent alien while surveying sites for a new plant.
Aperture Science is a humorous example. Founded by eccentric billionaire Cave Johnson (who becomes more eccentric after contracting lead poisoning during a botched murder attempt on his industry rivals), the company bases its ideas on his crazy delusions. Unsurprisingly, the company is hemorrhaging money. They originally used pro athletes and astronauts to perform simulations; however, as the tests became more lethal and Johnson's fortunes began to dwindle, they resorted to using vagrants and ultimately their own workers.
Probably the trope codifier is Resident Evil's Umbrella Pharmaceutical Company. In the original game, the company stumbled on a zombie virus while performing genetic experiments. The virus leaked into the water supply, unleashing an epidemic on nearby Raccoon City and destroying it. Later games revealed the company was founded by rather creepy English aristocrats.
Sluggy Freelance has Hereti-Corp, a both very straight and parodic example. They're among the most major antagonists in the Myth Arc of the comic and have dabbled in various "taking over the world" schemes, from trying to gain control of the gymnastic assassin Oasis for reasons as mysterious as her origin to wanting to clone the resident alien Aylee as a living superweapon. At one point, they almost went under after being exposed, but they resurfaced as "House of Cheese", selling pizza made entirely of cheese, and under new leadership eventually regained the name Hereti-Corp and are now involved in a potential end-of-the-world scenario.