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Corrupt Corporate Executive
aka: Robber Baron

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"Family, religion, friendship. These are the three demons you must slay if you wish to succeed in business."
"Excellent job! Now to restructure the banking system so that we will be able to rob the shirts off of poor people...uh, I mean, to invest prudently and generate wealth that will trickle down."
Antonio Lopez, Tropico 4

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. They are also very, very likely to be White (or Asian) and male, like CEOs in real life.

Expect to find them at the head of an enormous boardroom table on the top floor of an Evil Tower of Ominousness. He may be a Bad Boss, but not always. A few of them can actually be very decent employers, with employees who are completely in the dark about their underhanded plans. If so, the public is often just as much in the dark. Naturally, this sort of villain tends to have an Amoral Attorney (or several) on his payroll, in case he does slip up, and a small stormtrooper army of "security personnel" who have carte blanche to commit any number and kind of violent crimes to get a good performance evaluation from the boss. If those resources fail, he often uses money to "buy" or even "own" officials.


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 The '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 Ernst Stavro 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, which is popular in dystopian and Cyberpunk fiction, 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. Similarly powerful CCEs are popular villains in superhero stories, as an explanation for why you need costumed vigilantes rather than ordinary police in the first place (because the local/national government works for the CCE, not the public).

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.

This is one of the inevitable progressions that any ambitious character will end in. See Also There Are No Good Executives and Morally Bankrupt Banker. Occasionally, the CCE will be the producer of an Immoral Reality Show. If the executive is a caricature of a certain someone with fake poofy hair and lives in a giant tower, then that is a Trumplica.

See also the Corrupt Politician, who is likely to be his drinking buddy, and the Amoral Attorney, a brigade of whom will be found on his payroll. Compare Greedy Jew and Pointy-Haired Boss. Contrast Honest Corporate Executive, the CCE's natural enemy. But remember that sometimes, Even Evil Has Standards (and/or Loved Ones), especially in a What You Are in the Dark situation.

Sadly, this trope is all too often Truth in Television, but be that as it may, No Real Life Examples, Please!

Examples subpages:

Other examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • Shugo Chara!: While the show is "extraordinarily" supportive of large amounts of ambition, both the "director" of Easter Company, Kazamu Hoshina, and his boss Gozen 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. The Big Bad, Quincy, is the head of the corporation who does everything in the name of profit, while Brian J Mason, another high-ranking executive, is even worse; he bought a housing complex, evicted all the residents (including Priss) and leveled it so Genom could develop the property into another of their research facilities, even after being told someone was still inside at the time. Oh, and years prior to that, he murdered Sylia's Father too.
  • 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.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!:
    • 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 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. While not as bad as his father, he 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 (Well, more specifically to kill Yugi and his friends, but still). (He gets better, though.)
      Kaiba: Am I supposed to be scared to attack?
      Dartz: Well, only if destroying an innocent soul concerns you...
      Kaiba: Nah. As the president of a major corporation, I have to do that every day.
    • Pegasus fits this as well, using his power as the head of Industrial Illusions and host of the Duelist Kingdom tournament for all its worth.
    • Dartz, the main antagonist of the anime-only Doma arc, is the head of the Paradius corporation, a multinational conglomerate that dwarfs Kaiba's company. The whole group is a front for resurrecting an evil, soul-devouring god, and some of the company's activities include running a private prison for children and funding civil wars in other countries.
    • Manjyome's two brothers from Yu-Gi-Oh! GX probably count (although, as Kaiba himself says, they're clearly not very good at it).
  • 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.
  • Sir Isaac Ray Peram Westcott in Date A Live is the Managing Director of Deus.Ex.Machina Industries. On one hand, he was the one who invented the Realizers. On the other hand, he wants to seek and harness all of Spirit powers so he can plunge the whole world in chaos and destruction.
  • 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. In contrast, Reiji Takayama (as well as his old staff) in the same Douji Group, despite his occasional blunders, is responsible and becomes a Silent Scapegoat to save his company's reputation.
  • The Gowa family and Symbol from Gasaraki. 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.
  • Pokémon: Zoroark: Master of Illusions: 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 a city, kidnapping, and threatening to murder a baby Pokemon directly in front of its mother! He'll also go down in Pokemon history as having one of the most satisfying Humiliation Conga ever given.
  • In Men's 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.
  • Rurouni Kenshin has Takeda Kanryu, who participates in shady businesses (opium and weapon trade) and won't hesitate to have people slaughtered if it will allow him to continue making money. The live action movie expands on this, showing him snub his nose at the authorities whenever they try to question him.
  • Albert Maverick from Tiger & 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. And 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.
  • Variable Geo: Big Bad Miranda Jahana is the driving force behind The Jahana Group's activities, with Damian as her most loyal subordinate. Once they learn of Satomi's latent fighting potential, she has him manipulate her into entering the VG tournament, so she could use Satomi as her new vessel.
  • Phantom Quest Corp.: Not only is Mr. Nagasuki screwing his secretary on the job, he abuses his position as the museum's curator to try to coerce his employee, Natsuki, to sleep with him. Plus, he was later found guilty of embezzling funds from the museum, so the blank check he had paid Ayaka with, was worthless.
  • Naruto featured Gato, head of Gato Company, in the first major story arc. His company's shipments allowed him to mask his trade in all manner of illicit goods. For unspecified reasons he decided to take over all shipping lanes from the Land of Waves, preventing the island nation from carrying out any of the standard trade and driving it into poverty. Gato went one step further by purposefully targeting anybody who gave the people hope and eliminating them in public and gruesome manners.
  • My Hero Academia featured the Meta Liberation Army, a terrorist organization fighting for unregulated usage of superpowers, led by several corporate executives who secretly controlled all of Deika City.
    • The leader, Re-Destro, was president and CEO of the Detnerat Company, which was dedicated to creating individual items fitting people with Quirks that make them unable to buy anything standardized as well as items to support the Quirks of himself and his followers in combat.
    • Curious was the executive director of Shoowaysha (Shueisha) Publishing and used her authority to disseminate MLA propaganda across Japan.
    • Skeptic was a board member from leading IT company Feel Good, Inc., and as a result could restore data and trace phone calls to know the location of his enemies.
  • Hades Vandein, the Big Bad of Magical Record Lyrical Nanoha Force and general manager of the Vandein Corporation. He's the main instigator of the Eclipse incident and the reason why there are Infected running around The Multiverse blowing various towns up, as well as various labs filled with the bloody and fatal results of human experimentation. It's all part of the R&D his company is doing on the Eclipse virus as it'll bring huge profits to his company once they refine the technological advances related to it.
    Hades Vandein: It's not unusual for bloodshed and lawsuits to happen over the development and monopolizing of new technologies.
  • Gan'an Shinomiya in Kaguya-sama: Love Is War is Kaguya's neglectful father and the head of a shady zaibatsu. He's rarely seen, but it's shown that he raised all of his children to be manipulative sociopaths for the sake of increasing the family's prestige.
  • Ragyo Kiryuin from Kill la Kill. This woman has managed to get way with...
    • Helping a Magic Meteor eat random people off the street due to having a global monopoly on clothing.
    • Making clothing that installs a custom Weirdness Censor in anyone without built-up immunity (or nudism).
    • Blatant sexual abuse of her daughter Satsuki and her other daughter Ryuko.
    • Attempting to allow an entire stadium full of innocent men, women, and children to be consumed by alien lifeforms.
  • Kirby: Right Back at Ya! brings us the evil Galactic Conqueror Nightmare. He is the owner of Holy Nightmare Corporation (Nightmare Enterprises in the dub), a company that literally rules the entire universe.
  • Idol Densetsu Eriko: Eriko's Evil Uncle Yuusuke, once he gets control of his deceased brother's entertaiment company, sees Eriko as a potential cash cow, and once she decides to work with her father's best friend instead, tries to destroy her career. He's basically the anime version of Eric Raymond, but perhaps even worse.
  • Saturn Apartments features a power plant. The safety there leaves a lot to be desired. The boss at the plant knows. He does not, however, give a damn.
  • Hugtto! Pretty Cure has George Kurai, the President of the Criasu Corporation. He's trying to steal everyone's future by stopping time.
  • Napping Princess: The main antagonist, Watanabe, is a senior member of Sajima Motors, and uses his power to influence the police and ultimately intends to make a hostile takeover of the company. In general, he does keep to legal means, however, and even wants the procession at the Olympic Games to go over well just as much as everyone else (even if that's just because it would be bad for him if someone was injured). His counterpart in Heartland is much worse, making sure the princess stays imprisoned, keeping the country in danger, and ultimately wants to watch everything burn when his plans are foiled.

    Comic Books 
  • The DCU:
    • 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 supervillain, 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.
    • In Krypton No More, Superman meets Morton Kalmbach, seedy president of Metro Chemical (a factory that makes vinyl chloride, a known carcinogen). He admits that his factory is unsafe to work in and several workers have gotten sick from cancer, but he considers that it is a "socially acceptable risk".
    • Maxwell Lord, who helped form the Justice League International, tends to zigzag between being merely an amoral con artist and being an outright villain.
    • Then there's Morgan Edge, who owned a rival news corporation to the Daily Planet and turned out to be an Intergang pawn.
    • In Kryptonite Nevermore Superman meets Boysie Harker, a tycoon that owns an island where a volcano is about to erupt and who shoots at his employees when they try to run away.
      Mr. Harker: Name's Boysie Harker! I own this bay — and that island yonder!
      Superman: Does that give you the right to shoot unarmed men?
      Mr. Harker: That's exactly what it gives me! Those people are under contract to work my plantation... and I aim to enforce those contracts — even if I have to kill a few of the lazy louts!
    • Batman tangles with these from time to time, usually to counterpoint his comparative honesty as corporate exec Bruce Wayne. Let's see... there was Black Mask, Roland Daggett and Ferris Boyle from the DCAU, sometimes Simon Stagg (more commonly known as Metamorpho's archenemy)... the list goes on.
      • Batman's very first villain, Alfred Stryker from "The Case of the Chemical Syndicate", was a businessman willing to murder his partners to take full control of the company.
      • Perhaps the most extreme example in Batman's rogues' gallery is Warren White, AKA the Great White Shark. A brilliant financial mind, he perpetrated schemes that cost citizens of Gotham billions in lost investments. How bad is he? Jeremiah Arkham, administrator of an insane asylum that houses people like Bane, Killer Croc, and The Joker, thinks that White is the worst person he knows. Joker himself says that while he may kill people, he doesn't steal their kids' college funds. He's quite possibly the most hated man at Arkham Asylum.
    • Green Arrow has his Evil Counterpart Komodo. As Simon Lacroix, he was a business rival of Oliver Queen and used illegal and underhanded tactics to discredit him and buy up his company for a fraction of its value.
    • Batwoman has faced the Kali Corporation, headed by half-twins Elder and Younger, which is the legitimate business front of The Many Arms of Death, a global terrorist network.
    • Red Robin: Mikalek is a Russian industrialist and hobbyist super-villain who tries to take control of the Uternet in order to control the emotions of everyone who enters it while preparing to make it accessible to the general public.
    • Robin: Lloyd Waite is the CEO of Strader Pharmaceuticals and oversaw their highly illegal development of a drug designed to give the user super-strength but ended up making the users homicidal and killing them over time.
    • Wonder Woman (1987): Veronica Cale is a Mad Scientist and CEO who uses her position and wealth to manipulate public opinion, bring in and hire/attempt to control supervillains, and sleeps with politicians while manipulating them from the background so that she won't be implicated when they help her carry out her plans.
  • Marvel Universe:
    • Both The Kingpin and Deathwatch are New York crime bosses and the heads of major corporations.
    • 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. Their current CEO, Dario Agger, is a recurring Thor antagonist who runs the place like a nation state / religion, is working with Dark Elves so he can invade other planets for their oil, and occasionally turns into a minotaur.
    • Thor (2014) includes both Agger and several other supervillain CEOs, including the latest version of the Silver Samurai - a literal Corporate Samurai whose smartphone transforms into some kind of liquid metal Powered Armor.
    • 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!)
    • Hexus, the Living Corporation, although that happened to an alien Hive Mind that drew its power from people's obsession with its products.
    • Iron Man has a couple of these. One is Obadiah Stane, a literal chessmaster whose Evil Plan caused Tony Stark to develop a drinking problem, allowing Stane to buy Stark International 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. Hammer took control of Stane International after the latter's death, and years later sold it back to Stark for one dollar (which led to Stark having to clean up all of Stane International's shady dealings) 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 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.
    • Spider-Man's archenemy Norman Osborn has been presented as one of these since day one when he arranged for one of his scientists to be thrown in jail for embezzlement to gain access to the formula that'd make him the Green Goblin—and ever since his return, he's gotten worse.
    • 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 all too clear they are only interested in their profit margin.
    • Garth Ennis' The Punisher: The End depicts corrupt executives as being responsible for the end of the world.
  • James Stillwell, Vought's head of "Superhuman Development" in The Boys. An emotionless sociopath willing to do anything and everything to improve Vought's bottom line and cover up their superheroes' indiscretions, up to and including plotting the assassination of the President of the United States.
  • Many members of The Trust from 100 Bullets fit this trope.
  • In Darkwing Duck, we have the mysterious CEO of Quackwerks, Taurus Bulba, whose main goal was to find the new code to activate and control the Gizmoduck armor.
  • In Deep Gravity, it turns out that the damage to the freighter Vanguard was deliberately caused by Drummond, the efficiency guy from the corporation which owns it, due to having been paid off by a rival corporation.
  • While he is sometimes portrayed as the exact opposite, Scrooge McDuck is typically this trope, especially in the Italian Disney comics. Notably, in The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck, his Start of Darkness is seen, turning him from the Honest Corporate Executive he sought to be into this and costing him his relationship with his family for decades.
  • 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.
  • Lord Blackpool from Lady Mechanika; a Steampunk arms manufacturer very much in the 'dark satanic mills' mould.
  • Last Man Standing has the president of Armtech, Abram.
  • In the 2015 reboot of Prez, one group of adversaries is a cabal of corrupt CEOs led by the CEO of Smiley Industries, the reboot's version of the corrupt political operator Boss Smiley from the original Prez.
  • General Patrick Pending, CEO of Circle Sea, who attempts to create a genetically-engineered slave race of human/animal hybrids he can sell for profit in Shaman's Tears.
  • The entire board of directors in Steelgrip Starkey and the All-Purpose Power Tool are this to a T.
  • 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).
    • However the fact the villains are planning to steal from his Swiss bank account where under a false name Carreidas has more than ten million dollars does imply his corruption. And Carreidas while under the influence of truth serum claims to have lived a very dishonest life, stealing since he was 4.
    • A more typical example is R. W. Trickler of General American Oil in The Broken Ear.
  • Tomboy: Irene Trent has manufactured a drug called Ambidrex which causes murderous and violent tendencies in its users and is sometimes deadly, and is also willing to have innocent people killed in order to hide this fact.
  • In Violine, Van Beursen and his company's board members are this.
  • The Blotch in Zot!. It's also revealed that Charity is this trope on a planetary example.
  • In Scooby Apocalypse, Rufus Dinkley, Velma's brother and one of The Four, is a top-tier businessman, who financed the experiments at the Complex. Post-apocalypse, he's holing himself up in his penthouse, forcing the scientists he's holding captive to work non-stop to find a way to not reverse the monster transformations but to control the monsters. And he's shown killing the ones who complain about the pressure he's putting on them.
  • The Boom! Studios young adult miniseries Heavy Vinyl ends with the reveal of a Big Bad who is one in the music industry. Producer Ric Blaze has been kidnapping and brainwashing up-and-coming bands using mind control technology to alter the way they create new songs. When supporting character Irene points out this seems unnecessary since Blaze's albums already make a lot of money, singer Rosie Riot (who figured out what Blaze was doing after he brainwashed the guys in her band) explains Blaze isn't doing this just for money. He and the music corporation are attempting to make their bands produce bland, meaningless music they can use to keep their audiences nice and docile so they can keep making money and keep controlling them.
  • The Jem and the Holograms miniseries Infinite involves an alternate universe where Jem and Jerrica being one and the same has become public knowledge, resulting in Eric Raymond founding a company called Jemcorp to brainwash people with the hologram technology in addition to killing Jem and the Holograms as well as the Misfits with the exceptions of Kimber and Stormer. Pizzazz is also revealed to have faked her death and is hidden in a secret room by Eric.

    Fan Works 
  • In the Kingdom Hearts fanfic Oblivion, Ansem is depicted as one — he's the CEO of a massive electronics company, and he's got a secret lab where he's carrying out certain unethical (and unnatural) experiments.
  • Gavin Caine and Roger Arsenault of The New Retcons are both this, but it's hard to say who is worse:
    • Gavin, who tried to halt an investigation into whether building Millborough on a nuclear test site affected the health of its citizens as revenge by proxy on his son Anthony because he refused to assist Gavin in his expansion plans, and the investigation was spearheaded by the wife of the man Anthony chose to work for instead of him.
    • Or Roger, who will fan the flames any which way he can so he can buy land dirt cheap and develop it.
  • Sophistication and Betrayal has Cashmere, who is very willing to engage in unethical business practices to beat out her competition.
  • Mare of Steel has Alexander Silversmith (basically Lex Luthor as a pony); his first appearance has him arranging a bombing to destroy the facilities of one of his competitors, and he is powerful enough that when Rainbow Dash/Supermare foils his plot, he passes it off as third party zealots trying to frame him and stall the economy. And that's before he puts his resources to work helping Steel Wing's campaign against Supermare, or helping Brainiac build a bomb capable of destroying Cloudsdale as part of a Sadistic Choice designed to break Rainbow Dash's will. Neither of which he's punished for in the story.
  • Tanizaki Kazuo, the Big Bad of the sequel to Claymade's The Dark Lords of Nerima. The head of one of the biggest corporations in Japan if not the world, he has numerous shadowy dealings ranging from bribery to weapons dealing, which he operates alongside his legitimate operations. And that's not even scratching the surface of what his actual plans are.
  • Mega Man: Defender of the Human Race has Marcus Vickers as of episode 7; before then, he was mostly ineffectual. In a bit of a win for reality, it's shown that the board of directors only put up with him as long as he kept the company's image clean and the profits in the green. When both of those fall apart from his increasingly deranged actions, the board has him voted out of power.
  • Queen of All Oni: Filler Villain Anton Mortimer is an example leaning more towards corrupt jerkass than outright evil: he inherited a Pacific shipping company from his father, which he uses as a front for amassing a huge collection of stolen Asian artifacts to fuel his Foreign Culture Fetish. Since his assistant didn't Read the Fine Print on her contract, he able to treat her like a slave, forcing her to wear a fuka and change her name just so he has a badass Asian sidekick, with no care towards her personal feelings. And he doesn't hesitate to use his money and connections to try and threaten the J-Team and Captain Black into backing off so he can keep a recently-purchased Oni mask — and he's not even ignorant of its power; he knows how dangerous it is, but cares more about it as a collectible.
  • The owner of Freddy Fazbear's in Five Nights at Freddy's fanfiction You Seem Acquainted With Those Doors does nothing about the five missing children until the bite of '87 makes the danger obvious.
  • In the Captain Planet and the Planeteers fanfic Heroes for Earth, this is pretty much the standard MO for everyone who works in the Corporation, as greasing the wheels of government officials, breaking government laws, and strong-arming those who dare to protest is done to achieve greater profits and make sure they get away with their actions.
  • William Meikletrough in My Little Animaniacs, a pony who forces Rita to perform in his show by holding several of her friends hostage.
  • Service with a Smile: Averted with Alexander Sterling, a regional director of Café Prime, a major coffee retailer, and Jaune's rival. While he does engage in marketing schemes that are barely disguised price-fixing, and he is personally unpleasant and rude toward Jaune, he is operating within his rights as a competitor. Jaune himself tells off the Malachite Twins for wanting to treat a legal business like a rival gang to destroy. Played straight, as it's revealed that the hoods who wrecked Jaune's place and injured him were working on orders from Café Prime. Later when he starts receiving bad press due to buying Jaune's building and evicting him, Sterling tries to have Jaune evicted sooner than is legal, even if he has to make up a reason why..
  • Sword Art Online Abridged's version of Shouzou Yuuki is this in contrast with his canon self. Not only is he an Abusive Parent who's willing to cut off his daughter Asuna's life support to avoid paying the medical bills (before his lawyers talked him out of the idea), but he's also a Horrible Judge of Character who decides to marry her off to the "nice gentleman" Nobuyuki Sugou so he can pay them instead.

    Films — Animation 
  • An Angel for Christmas: Kovet, who uses his power as the boss of the flange factory- where practically everyone in town works- to even do such things as boss around his own enforcement group and cancel Christmas.
  • Alistair Krei of Big Hero 6, who Robert Callaghan mentions as cutting corners when it comes to his company's application of technology. It's later revealed that one such incident led to the loss of Robert's daughter when Krei proceeded with the live demonstration of teleportation technology despite the warnings from his own engineer of a problem.
  • Mr. Gilbert Huph in the The Incredibles. He is an insurance exec who is determined to deny as many insurance claims as he can, regardless of how legitimate they are as per their customers' contracts. So, if Bob Parr really wanted to strike back at this bully, he could remember that Huph is making himself liable for a major Breach of Contract lawsuit.
  • Jetsons: The Movie: Mr. Spacely, who is normally a Mean Boss to George, hiring and firing him on a whim, graduates into this by knowingly destroying a colony of cute aliens on an asteroid to mine for raw materials. While he does relent and agrees to let the aliens recycle the sprockets, he takes away George's raise.
  • Averted in 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.
  • Mr. Waternoose in Monsters, Inc.. This is mostly brought about by the company's impending failure, so he felt he had no choice but to agree to serve as Randall's henchman.
  • "Big Boss" from Rio 2, who runs an illegal logging operation in the Amazon and doesn't hesitate to abandon a few environmentalists in the jungle just to cover up his acts.
  • Robots has Ratchet, The Dragon to Madame Gasket who took control of Bigweld Industries prior to Rodney coming to Robot City. He had a plan to con robots out of their money by convincing them to replace their old bodies in favor of shiny newer ones and shutting down production of spare parts for older models to make the new parts their only choice, going against Bigweld's slogan that you can be successful regardless of what you're made of.
  • Scooby-Doo! Abracadabra-Doo: Calvin Curdles has a spy informing him about any struggles suffered by the owner of the castle he wants to buy to turn into a restaurant. Subverted when it turns out his real reason to want the castle has nothing to do with business.
  • Storks: Hunter is the CEO of Cornerstore, a stork-run delivery service that he created to get away from the baby business. When a baby is accidentally created, he is more concerned about the value of the company's stocks than the baby's fate. So much so that he decides that having the baby raised by penguins is better than the real family since that way nobody would find out about their mistake.
  • Clayton from Tarzan (2013), who uses a conservation project as a cover for securing the Mineral MacGuffin, brings in a private mercenary army to secure control of it, and plans to murder Porter and Jane to ensure that there are no witnesses to gainsay his version of events.
  • The main villain of Yogi The Easter Bear was the owner of a plastics factory named Paulie, who schemed to kidnap the Easter Bunny and destroy his supply of Easter eggs so that he could make a profit on eggs made of plastic.

  • The Radix: Deena Riverside and Dilon Armstrong, respectively CEO and owner of Taft-Ryder Farmaceuticals, who hunt for Radix, a holy relic that belonged to Jesus, to develop a new, groundbreaking medicine.
  • Occurs in Daniel Handler's A Series of Unfortunate Events. Closer to this than Corrupt Hick is Sir, the amoral, cigar-smoking lumbermill owner who pays his workers in coupons and gives them gum for lunch; in a later appearance, business is bad, as nearby lumber source the Finite Forest is running out of trees.
  • From Tales of the Astonishing Black Spark there is Christopher Row, Donald's agent after arriving in New York to become a superhero. The chapter All This and Rabbit Stew is where he ramps it up to eleven, manipulating Donald into taking advertisements that accentuate the stereotypes associated with his race.
  • 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).
  • Robert Sobel's Alternate History classic For Want of a Nail features Bernard Kramer, a Rags to Riches German immigrant who corrupts the democratic political system of the United States of Mexico for the benefit of his Mega-Corp. He even prepares the installment of a dictator.
  • Forever and a Death by Donald Westlake has Richard Curtis. He was always a corner-cutter and bullying executive but is living off of investors money at the moment (over-selling shares in projects) and plans to steal all the gold in Hong Kong's bak and flood half the city to cover it up.
  • Averted in Starship's Mage by the righteous fury of a CEO whose interstellar corporation would have had a zero-fatality year, if it weren't for the Corrupt Corporate Executives at competing companies. He provides information to the protagonists as they're going up against the corrupt government that was handing out safety "exemptions" left and right.
  • 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. This is, however, partly done as jet-black satire.
  • Derek Leech in assorted fiction by Kim Newman, including the novel The Quorum; 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 fewer scruples; it's eventually revealed he plans to run the company into the ground and buy it at rock-bottom prices (with money embezzled from the other board members, no less) under an alias, just to see if he can get away with it. He also conned the original owners of the Grand Trunk by buying the company with its own money, driving them into despair and poverty, and keeps a half-feral banshee on hire to kill anyone who threatens his long con whom he can't buy off or discredit. All this Gilt did because conning and outsmarting people is his idea of fun.
  • Many of 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. The main example is probably Orren Boyle, an industrialist who uses his close contacts with various Corrupt Politicians to steal his competitor Hank Rearden's innovations.
  • 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 40,000: 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 blackmail gain "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. Of course, anyone who is actually caught embezzling corporate profits is executed.
  • 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 & Co. 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 Banana 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. Every antagonist in the series is a shady business executive.
  • 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
  • The sequel series Trials Of Apollo feature Nero and the other surviving Emperors, who secretly manipulate conflicts through their company, Triumvirate Holdings.
  • 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.
    • Harold Kingman from Act of War, a slimy and well-connected oilman whose facilities eco-terrorist group GAMMA seek to wreck. When he tries to get Jason Richter and the CID technology into his hands, Jason's refusal is empathic.
  • 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 group of CCE's, whose ruthless money-grubbing is eclipsed only by their perverse proclivities.
  • Occasional antagonists in the Bolo universe.
  • Hollow Places mentions the upper management of Shore State Corrections. They institute policies that purposefully foster recidivism in their prisons in order to increase profits.
  • The Darhel, from John Ringo's Legacy of the Aldenata, are a 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 a 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. Hires everyone from crooked hydrologists to hitmen to keep his farming operation looking clean enough on paper that he doesn't have to spend money on pollution controls.
  • Lois McMaster Bujold's Vorkosigan Saga:
    • GalacTech's executives in Falling Free.
    • The White Chrysanthemum Cryonics Corporation in Cryoburn.
    • The literal robber Barons of Jackson's Whole.
  • Sir John Charnage from the Young Bond novel Double or Die is an owner of several failing businesses, and plans to leave England to Soviet Union, taking revolutionary technology with him. His late father was even worse, as he let the men working in his factories work in inhuman conditions, and used his connections in high places to keep it that way for better profit.
  • 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."
  • Year Zero is pretty much one long scathing (albeit amusing) indictment on the music industry and those in charge.
  • Airframe turns out to have two in John Marcer and Bob Richman.
  • Billington in The Jennifer Morgue. This is quite logical since the book is an homage to the James Bond books, where the Big Bad is usually a megalomaniac Corrupt Corporate Executive.
  • World War Z features Breckenridge Scott, inventor and vendor of Phalanx, a purported "cure" for African rabies (actually the zombie virus). It was actually a placebo, and he openly gloats about fooling most of the population into believing his rabies vaccine was a cure.
  • The Divide: Snakeweed runs a potion company that considers proper testing a complete waste of time, leading to treatments that work great on one mystical species and are usually lethal to others.
  • Paranoia: Nick Wyatt, head of Wyatt industries, is this personified, as he sees any and all competition, in any field, as something to be conquered, to the point of firing those he disagrees with. He also is not above using blackmail and extortion to get his employees to engage in illegal activities such as corporate espionage, burglary, theft, and breaking and entering, or face being sent to prison for at least 20 years and your life ruined.
  • In Comrade Death, Sarek eventually goes from a Punch-Clock Villain Arms Dealer — selling weapons because his employer now manufactures weapons — to the head of the Krieger Mega-Corp and sole producer of arms in the world. All wars benefit Sarek and he sinks his vast fortune into developing new and horrific chemical weapons, even making vague promises to someday provide Not-Hitler with the firepower to blow up the world.
  • Fashion designer Gordon Steuber in Mary Higgins Clark's While My Pretty One Sleeps. He hires illegal immigrant women (some of whom are underage) to make his clothes in sweatshops, he cheats on his income taxes, and he smuggles heroin in the linings of his clothes. He's also suspected of murdering one woman and arranging a hit on another. He turns out to be innocent of the last two things. But he's still a thoroughly nasty character; when police ask him about the planned hit, he says he has nothing to do with it, "but what a great idea."
  • People that saw the first Jurassic Park film and decided to give the book a try got a very rude awakening when they learn that John Hammond of the book was this trope. He makes no qualms about blackmailing his employees, cutting costs, and endangering people if it means he can open a park (or three) and make a profit out of it. His greed and unwillingness to see how much of a failure the park is eventually got him killed when he was attacked by a herd of compys. Compare that to the film, where Hammond comes across more as a Well-Intentioned Extremist (he genuinely wanted children to experience the same wonder and excitement he feels about dinosaurs, but he still cuts corners to try to speed up the opening day, but is willing to disown the park when he sees how much of a disaster the park had become).
  • The Running Man: Damon Killian is the smarmy head of the Games Company, overseeing the Immoral Reality Shows that are broadcast to the poor populations to distract them from how the network is poisoning the air.
  • The Craft Sequence involves a lot of shady business dealings, but Tan Batac in Last First Snow takes the cake. He engineers a conflict that turns a peaceful protest movement into a bloodbath... to get his company out of a bad insurance deal.
  • The Mark and the Void: Porter Blankely, who has left every previous institution in ruins while escaping with huge profits. At the Bank of Torabundo, his "counterintuitive" ways encourage everyone to take on unreasonable amounts of risk. Eventually it is revealed that Blankely tricked his employees into purchasing a lot of worthless holdings from his previous company through a complex scheme that bankrupts the Bank of Torabundo but greatly enriches him.
  • Billy Clyde in Anna Boekelheide's Web Serial Fishbowl.
  • The Extreme Monsters book series had Damon Christopher, money-grubbing owner of Pendant Enterprises who saw the athletes playing for his team Team Pendant as expendable and willing to do anything unethical or illegal to line his pockets. The book Battling Bigfoot even had his actions endanger a tribe of Bigfoot, with him not caring at all about their plight.
  • Race to the Sun: Mr Charles is the CEO of a huge gas and oil corporation, seems to be friends with the President and his company destroys the environment (not to mention building a pipeline on Native land) and is the target of many protest actions. And he's also a man-eating monster who kidnaps gifted children to work for him.
  • Preston Exley is the much-respected father of LAPD hero Ed Exley in L.A. Confidential. He's also a corrupt businessman who pursues crooked real estate deals that result in death and destruction. He shows up in the prequel Perfidia where he...pursues crooked real estate deals that result in death and destruction.
  • These Broken Stars: Roderick LaRoux owns LaRoux Industries and is probably the richest man in known space. He's also experimenting on extradimensional beings as a power source and to use their Mind Control abilities for his own ends, and has used his wealth and connections to have at least one person killed.

  • 'Bad Businessman' by the Squirrel Nut Zippers.
  • Iron Maiden's "El Dorado" is mostly told through the point of view of one of those.
  • UFO's "A Self Made Man" is told through the point of view of one of those.
  • 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."
  • The eponymous bourgeois sociopath of Warren Zevon's 'Mr Bad Example' has a phase of this in Australia, stealing the wages of the aboriginals he has hired to work the opal mines, after previous occupations as an altar boy (where he stole the collection), a carpet fitter (where he laid his clients' housewives and stole their furnishings), a lawyer (when he counselled all his clients to plead insanity), a hair replacer ('swindlin' the bald!'), and a gambler (where he lost all his hair replacement money, mugged a prostitute for her passport and her wig, and caught the midnight flight from Monte Carlo to Adelaide). The song ends with him having to flee another country, cash in hand.
    I bought a first-class ticket on Malaysian Air,
    And landed in Sri Lanka none the worse for wear,
    I'm thinking of retiring from all my dirty deals,
    I'll see you in the next life, wake me up for meals!
  • The titular character of "Robber Baron" by Voltaire. He sits in his tower, counting his gold, while the children working his factories lose body parts on the job and go hungry.
    What cold heartless beast
    Can sit and have his feast every night,
    While their plight's always in his sight?

    Myths & Religion 
  • The Bible: You'd expect something Older Than Feudalism to be exempt from this trope, but in the Parable of the Shrewd Manager, a wasteful manager is told that he's going to be fired, so he needs to give an accounting of his management. While the audit was still going on, he cooked the books in such a way as to get on the good side of his master's debtors, so that they'd be grateful to that he could mooch off them.

  • In Popeye Saves the Earth, Bluto is a proud and unrepentant planet-destroying polluter with a cartel of toxic companies.


    Pro Wrestling 
  • In the '80s, Ted DiBiase was one of the early examples of this trope in nationally televised wrestling. He was billed as the "Million Dollar Man" and paid André the Giant to win the WWF championship only to sell it to him immediately after the match. When the bought title was not recognized by the WWF, he declared himself the Million Dollar Champion and created his own Million Dollar Belt. He was also something of a Dastardly Whiplash, as at times he would engage in evil behaviour with no significant personal gain whatsoever, such as when he offered a young child $100 if he could dribble a basketball ten times without dropping it, then kicked the ball out of the child's hands halfway through.
  • Eric Bischoff crossed this with The Quisling when he joined the nWo at the end of the November 18, 1996 WCW Monday Nitro.
  • Vince McMahon became this as part of his heel turn following the Kayfabe Montreal Screwjob at Survivor Series 97, leading to him forming his own Power Stable The Corporation.
  • Don Callis played this role twice. In ECW, he was Cyrus, who was supposed to be the face of TNN and who was supposedly trying to bury ECW and get it thrown off the Network, which was also the name of his power stable. Under his own name in TNA, he played a "Management Consultant" who was looking to oust Director of Authority Erik Watts from his position and who did everything in his power to make life difficult for Jerry Lynn.
  • Victoria played this role when she was the Commissioner of WWE's developmental promotion Memphis Championship Wrestling in 2001 since she was still competing and working as a heel manager for Steve Bradley.
  • Stevie Richards played it for laughs when he was the self-appointed General Manager of Sunday Night Heat, which he had renamed Stevie Night Heat and was supposedly the head of "StevieCorp." His Catchphrase for this was "ALL STEVIE! ALL NIGHT! NOTHING BUT HEAT!"
  • 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. It didn't work.
  • Paul Heyman played this role as the General Manager of SmackDown!.
  • John Laurinaitis as the general manager of both Raw and SmackDown!, depicted as the leader of an evil outfit known as "People Power," which consists of Laurinaitis, David Otunga, Eve Torres, and Big Show.
  • After Daniel Bryan won and immediately lost WWE's title belt came Triple H and his "Best For Business" regime, officially known as "The Authority", put together to ensure Daniel Bryan would keep losing.
  • In 2014, Joshi fed REINA hired "The World Famous" Kana as a consultant, because every child of Fighting Opera HUSTLE apparently had to trust her at least once. Naturally she instructed them to reward her friends, punish wrestlers in their way and bribed her way to victory in the ring, gradually taking over the promotion.


  • Dino Attack RPG:
    • A flashback sequence reveals a story involving two such people going head-to-head. Uærlig Sindstorme, CEO of Mindstorms, Inc., decides to hire a team of small-time crooks to do dirty work against rival Dacta Corp. in order to lessen their competition. Meanwhile, Edward Korrupte, CEO of Dacta Corp., hires infamous assassin Silencia Venomosa to infiltrate Mindstorms, Inc. The results are... not pretty.
    • Implied to be the case with Mr. Bonaparte. He prescribes his patients with "classified" medications, but we have not seen anyone at Napoleon XIV Mental Institution whose mental health has improved under his supervision. Napoleon XIV also has a history of security issues, and he is willing to lie about them to avoid bad press.
    • Dr. Walter Breen also has many traits of a Corrupt Corporate Executive, especially in his days as administrator of Brick League United. Like Edward Korrupte, he was willing to hire Silencia Venomosa to take down his competition.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In Misspent Youth by Robert Bohl, if the group creates a Corporate villain, then it will no doubt include corrupt and rotten CEOs. 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 bootsnote .
    • 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 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?note  The best in-game example may be Saburo Arasaka, CEO and major shareholder of the Arasaka corporation, who is using it in the pursuit of Japan's world domination.
  • The various corporations and megacorporations that run much of the show in Shadowrun.
    • 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 End of the 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 CthulhuTech 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 & Dagger lore has a lot of big traders and merchant cabals ranging from unscrupulous to mafia-like to fiendish.
  • Eberron has many opportunities for this, since the dragonmarked houses are essentially magical Zaibatsu.
  • Rogue Traders of the Warhammer 40,000 universe can often become this, being fabulously wealthy merchant princes given free rein to orchestrate business ventures in the far reaches of space by Imperial bureaucracy. This being the universe that it is, even the Honest Corporate Executive examples of Rogue Traders will often treat employees as expendable and exploit entire planets for profit in the name of capitalism. It's just that there are far worse Traders that will hire incredibly dangerous aliens like Orks and Dark Eldar, or sacrifice the men under their command just because they can. It's all relative, really.

  • Friedrich Dürrenmatt's dark comedy Frank The Fifth is about a bank that is owned and operated by solely such people. The bank uses all kinds of illegal methods and routinely has customers and employees murdered.
  • 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.
  • Caldwell B. Caldwell from Urinetown. His Urine Good 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 everyone dies as soon as he's overthrown since his policies actually kept the water shortage from getting out of control.
  • Brook Lansdale in Allegro, a soap manufacturer who may not be the nominal executive of the city hospital but has enough authority to promote his sycophants and fire anyone he doesn't like. He's not so interested in pursuing patients who aren't wealthy but does take an interest in the protagonist's wife.
  • Phil Romano in That Championship Season is a strip-mining mogul who gives frequent kickbacks to local authorities; he made a significant campaign donation to help his former basketball teammate George Sitkowski become mayor in exchange for generous terms on the land lease for his mines, and when it looks as though George's re-election bid will fail, he tries making a similar donation to his opponent (who refuses).
  • Marion from Owners is a ruthless broker who buys up cheap buildings in an up and coming area in London, forces out tenants who are very poor and helpless and then she profits from the high-end and expensive housing.

    Visual Novels 
  • 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.
  • The Fruit of Grisaia: Both Irisu Kiyoka and Sakaki Michiaki hold really high positions in their respective companies, and neither of them is afraid to use that power in any way necessary, to further their own interests.
  • 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.
  • Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney:
  • Shall We Date?:
  • The CEO of Sumii Group from Spirit Hunter: NG is a real piece of work, as are some of his employees. They're part of the 5/5 Club, which embezzles money out of the company and various other illegal transactions. It's also revealed that he covered up for his son when the latter started a department fire store, killing twenty people. When a dietwoman tried to expose them, they brutally murdered her, disposed of her body, and covered up all of their crimes.

    Web Animation 
  • Benjamin Palmer and Lear Dunham from Broken Saints.
  • Zero Punctuation mocks this trope with Weyland-Yutani from the Alien franchise. Apparently the decades spent and trillions they've wasted trying to acquire the xenomorphs will somehow be balanced out by the amount they can make trying to sell them to the military industrial complex, assuming they can even be controlled.
    Yahtzee: Christ knows how Weyland-Yutani spent their time before the aliens were discovered. Probably threw children on top of piles of burning money!
  • Malcolm Hargrove from Red vs. Blue; he is largely a background character until Season 12, where his company Charon Industries is financing a civil war on the planet Chorus in an effort to have everyone on it kill eachother so Charon can get full access to the vast quantities of alien technology on Chorus. Also overlaps with Corrupt Politician, as Hargrove is the chairman of the UNSC Oversight Subcommittee and launched an investigation into Project Freelancer which, while revealing some of the highly illegal activities Freelancer was engaged in, was partially a cover so Hargrove could seize some of the experimental technology the Project was dealing with.
  • RWBY: Weiss Schnee's father, Jacques, is one. In Volume 1, Blake states that the Schnee Dust Company is infamous for its poor labor laws and questionable business partners. In Volume 2, Weiss admits that under her father's control, the company has gone in a "Morally grey" direction. In Volume 4's World of Remnant segment on the Schnee Dust Company, Qrow states that Jacques has made the SDC more profitable than ever, but at the cost of its soul, and employs in constant PR scams to stay in power.
    Qrow: Cheap labor, dangerous working conditions, doing whatever it takes to destroy the competition... Jacques Schnee doesn't care about people. He cares about winning.
  • Lucks from Meta Runner, the CEO of the megacorporation TASCorp. In his words, when he sees an opportunity to strengthen his company, he takes it, willing to go extreme lengths to take it, especially in the case of protaganist Tari and her mysterious ability to warp into video games.

    Web Comics 
  • Morgause 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.
  • Businessmen in Mandatory Roller Coaster are often depicted as demons wearing navy blue suits.
  • Freefall:
    • Mr. Kornada is willing to use his (temporary) authority at Ecosystems Unlimited to pervert a program intended to address an issue with the robots on Jean purely for the sake of personal profit, even if the perversion would effectively wipe out over 450 million sapient (if robotic) beings and turn them into mindless automatons, and could well doom the colony that relies on those beings for terraforming.
    • Mr. Ishiguro, Kornada's nephew, is somewhat less corrupt (and definitely much saner about it), but he's not entirely moral either. He's still someone who prefers to have the entire colony under his thumb until the debt is paid and gets nervous when it isn't, his resume outright calls him "a little bit evil", and the only reason he agreed with the plan to give his company's manufactured robots freedom and rights is because he's getting some serious cash out of having them as customers. He's someone who wants to keep the current corporate system stable as it is (rather than collapsing horribly), so that his grandsons can keep making money out of everyone else's grandsons.
  • 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 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 The Order of the Stick are all styled after executives of hip new startup companies, using corporate 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 they are directors of the IFCC, complete with business cards. While they make for good funny moments, they are still fiends and will screw you over with their deals.
  • Help Desk has Mr. Bunny, the Hoppy Computer Guy, Dark Lord of Microsoft Expy Ubersoft, 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).
  • In Sinfest, several characters such as Mickey Mouse, Bugs Bunny, Tom the Cat. Homer Simpson and Charlie Brown appear as leaders of different major crime families, with the Devil as ruling Don of the Five Families.
  • In Kevin & Kell, there's R.L., CEO of Herd Thinners, later joined by his wife (Kevin's ex) Angelique. Angelique seems to be the more corrupt of the two, as she did sell out the rest of the rabbits and is more scheming, while R.L.'s corruptness is tempered by, of all tropes, Brilliant, but Lazy: he shot down both world conquest and a racketeering scheme because it'd be too much work. (However, he's become a lot more corrupt now that Kell has established a rival company. For what it's worth, one comic classified R.L as Neutral Evil while Angelique was classified as Chaotic Evil. Ironically, the one time they were jailed (for overstating production), they were innocent of the crime (being set up by a disgruntled ex-employee as revenge for getting fired).
  • The Adventures of Gyno-Star features a shadowy cabal of corrupt corporate executives who plot to "eliminate" Gyno-Star for her meddling ways.
  • Sluggy Freelance:
    • Every member of Hereti Corp 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.
  • Pierce from Sturgeon's Law is a former corporate executive now part of a corrupt company trying to take over the world. There’s a possibility that some of his namesake company's products may contain babies.
  • Questionable Content gave us Beatrice Chatham, Hannelore's mother and a woman who openly laments that the days when you could topple a Mega-Corp with a few transsexual prostitutes and a Polaroid camera are over.
  • Drugs And Wires has Marilyn Hope-Fokker. A grate-A vulture-capitalist, she acquires an agricultural facility in Nebraska and forces its employees to have a bake-off to avoid having their jobs outsourced or downsized. When she's given a dish that meets her approval and the hopeful employee asks if he can keep his job, she reveals that she's already sold the entire facility to a Taiwanese sexbot manufacturer and everyone is being terminated; the bake-off was just to scout employees for her new bakery subsidiary, since they'll be looking for a new job anyway. And this is all just in her introduction!
  • In The Letters Of The Devil, Rita Carey is the CEO of Carey Investments, and the story starts when Cedric receives a letter saying her entire business is a Ponzi scheme.

    Web Original 
  • The Onion: "'Layoffs Are Necessary If We Want to Keep the Lights On,' Says CEO Halfway Through Tasting Menu"
  • 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.
  • Tim Sullivan from Avalons Reign runs the corporation Sullivan Detainment, specializing in private prisons. He has no problem ordering the death of a politician who questions his business practices. On a smaller scale, Dirk Chambers, the manager of one of those prisons, is a drug addict who actually arranges for said politician's demise.

    Web Videos 
  • 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 The Cartoon Man, Simon is a small-time version of this, hoping to exploit Roy and Karen's findings for his own gain at least until he becomes a straight-up Dastardly Whiplash cartoon villain, at which point his plans become much bigger.
  • In Game Grumps, Danny is learning about the Zelda convention of cutting down plants to get random drops (typically money). After discussing it a bit, Dan realizes that he's starting to sound like this trope.
    Danny: Oh God, what kind of jaded person have I become? [gruff] Burn the flower beds, there might be money underneath!!
  • Charles-Antoine Donteuil, the creator of the game in which Noob is set, qualifies for the money-making variant. One of his hidden marketing ploys is behind one of the major elements of the setting, to the point that knowledge of it becoming public is the cause of the first Wham Episode of the story.
  • The Angry Joe Show has Corporate Commander, who's basically Cobra Commander if he was the CEO of a video game company. He mainly partakes in developing overpriced, poorly made games and locking content behind downloadable content and loot boxes.
  • The Big Bad of the Pokémon Fakemon region The Kaskade Region is Tom Bezzle, CEO of Amaze-All. Though devoted to improving the lot of humanity, his idea of doing so is to make his Mega-Corp the biggest and most expansive in the world, and does so by means of listening in on the public with his products, buying out news companies that criticize him (like accusing him of increasing unemployment levels), and even seeks to control the region's Bizarre Seasons by capturing its local Legendaries.
  • The Stupendium has cosplayed as many of these characters in his music videos based on video games. Notable examples include Mr. House, Fate, and Tom Nook; as well as his board gamer persona "The Chairman of the Board." As stated in the description for "The Fine Print":



Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Robber Baron


ERB Walt Disney's verse

Walt Disney, being portrayed as an anthropomorphic personification of the Disney company, is shown as a terrific, fearful businessman who will buy Henson and Lee's properties (and anyone else's for that matter) without any remorse

How well does it match the trope?

5 (8 votes)

Example of:

Main / CorruptCorporateExecutive

Media sources:

Main / CorruptCorporateExecutive