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Honest Corporate Executive

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"We were trying to decide which of two cities to move to. Both were on either side of the river we needed to use. As it turned out, because of wind and river currents, most of the air and water pollution would go to the town on the other side of the river. It was also a poor community, and the richer one was offering some very attractive tax benefits which the other (poorer) town couldn't afford. In the end, we decided to choose the poorer community so it would get more of the job and tax benefits even though it cost the company a little, because it was the right thing to do."
— Company profiled in the book In Search of Excellence
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This is a powerful businessperson who is not willing to profit at the expense of sacrificing their moral principles such as business/social ethics, corporate responsibility, or protecting the environment (unless the affected party also profits in this manner). Extreme examples may even do so in spite of great detriment to their business operations.

The question then becomes: if he succeeds, then how does he do it? It could be all that positive PR translating into repeat customers. Perhaps he's a Benevolent Boss who attracts and retains high quality employees. Maybe his success lies in making every effort to outdo his rivals by providing better products and services than they do. The spirit of competition drives him to excel. There's also the possibility that even though the HCE may be a good person, he still plays hardball in his business operations. He might not try to sabotage his competition or cheat his customers, but if he spots a loophole in a contract you sign with him, he will have no issues using it to maximum effect. Finally, he could stay ahead of the curve by living on the line between genius and insanity.

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He will likely be contrasted with his Evil Counterpart, the Corrupt Corporate Executive, and the differences in their approaches could be a central theme of the work. In the poorly handled cases, the Corrupt executive can turn into a Card-Carrying Villain or making the Honest executive's business savvy an Informed Attribute. After all, even if the corrupt executive is motivated purely by greed, you would think he wouldn't Kick the Dog unless it was profitable.

If the Honest executive is doing better, it could be because he's a more talented businessman, whereas the less-talented Corrupt exec needs to "cheat" to succeed. It's also possible that the Corrupt executive gets ahead through cheating or otherwise being unethical to achieve more immediate success, but the Honest executive wins in the long run because his customers prefer his dependability and/or his employees are more motivated. In this way the Honest demonstrates the distinction of Enlightened Self-Interest.

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Often (but not necessarily) also a Reasonable Authority Figure, Uncle Pennybags, and/or a Benevolent Boss. If he's part of the minority in his organization that are trying to resist the rest's rampant corruption, he would probably be also an Internal Reformist. If he's given the chance to act corrupt, expect him to say Screw the Money, I Have Rules!. May teach An Aesop that Good Pays Better.


Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!: Despite jokes thanks to the Abridged Series, Seto Kaiba becomes one of these after Yami beats the evil out of him in the Death-T arc. Even before then, his entire backstory centered on him taking a weapons company and dismantling it to break into making games for children. His adoptive father, Gozaburo, while an abusive bastard at home, also seems to have been one, if in the morally dubious field of arms dealing. This makes for a contrast with the KaibaCorp board of directors, The Big Five, Duelist Kingdom Big Bad Maximillion Pegasus, and KaibaCorp Grand Prix Big Bad Siegfried von Schroeder, all of whom are willing to be as underhanded as possible to make a profit.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! GX: Pegasus develops into this sequel series, to the point of becoming the closest thing to the Big Good in the series. Even then, his underhanded tactics in the original was more personal than buisiness.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Between Parts 1 and 2 Robert E. O. Speedwagon discovered oil and became insanely rich. He established the Speedwagon Foundation, invested his money into numerous successful business adventures, cared for his best friend's son and grandson, and invested countless dollars into helping the poor and hungry. In Part 2, he funds the fight against the Vampires, and numerous agents from the Foundation team up with the Nazis to banish the undead menace. (In Part 2, the Nazis were the only group outside of the Speedwagon alliance to know about the horrors of the Pillar Men, and both groups were willing to set aside their differences to stop them from eliminating humanity.) From then on, the Foundation provides aid to the future heroes of Jojos, even after Speedwagon passes. In part 3, Kakyoin and Iggy have their serious wounds treated by a doctor from the foundation, and the Joestars can rely on them to fund transportation.

    Comic Books 
  • Disney Ducks Comic Universe has Scrooge McDuck. Call him a greedy bargainer, call him a slavedriving taskmaster, call him an exploitative manipulator... but he prides himself on earning his fortune "square" without being a dishonest and immoral businessman — unlike his Evil Counterpart, Flintheart Glomgold. Typical Depending on the Writer and Characterization Marches On caveats apply. The one time he veered into Corrupt territory in The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck ended up costing him his relationship with his family, and he spends years alone and miserable until he reconciled with Donald and met his great-nephews, who brought out the spark of adventure he let lie dormant.
  • Another example from the Duckverse occurs in Darkwing Duck: When Launchpad McQuack is appointed as the new CEO of Quackwerks, he actually does a lot of good with the company and former Crimebots/now Herobots, until (in the Joe Books omnibus, anyway), he steps down during the "Campaign Carnage" arc.
  • Batman:
  • Iron Man: Tony Stark, CEO of Stark Enterprises, is this once he quit being a weapons dealer. Well, in his "better" portrayals, at least. Issues like his involvement in the events of the Civil War series cast doubts on the integrity of his corporate practices. But even as distasteful as weapons manufacturing is to a lot of people, he was a pretty honest guy with those, too. Making for the US Armed forces, not (knowingly) ever providing for terrorists, etc. For instance, in a famous story, "Doomquest," when Stark learned that an underling sold military tech to Doctor Doom, he instantly fired him, refunded Doom's money, tried to prevent Doom's minion from taking the goods anyway, and then personally confronted Doom in his own castle to get them back.
  • Richard Rich from Richie Rich.
  • In Sonic the Comic, Charmy Bee after he bought out Crimson Cobra Inc ending the threat of the villian The Crimson Cobra.
  • Watchmen has an odd example in Adrian Veidt, formerly the superhero Ozymandias. His leaps-and-bounds advantages over the presumptive competition and near-monopolistic control of the market were acquired purely through genius understanding of the zeitgeist and where people will be spending their money next, rather than through dishonesty and cheating. It turns out that he's a Well-Intentioned Extremist using the money he makes from this to fund a plan that ultimately kills millions of people and leaves even more mentally damaged survivors... but in doing so he completely ends the threat of nuclear war as far as the reader can tell. But he's still a personable and friendly Benevolent Boss who's genuinely saddened when his young secretary dies in a planned attack intended for Veidt himself (doubly sad because he planned the hit for himself, making him indirectly responsible), and he does make his funds legitimately and without personal gain as a goal in mind, so he technically counts here.
  • The Transformers: G.B. Blackrock, owner and founder of Blackrock Industries. He's firmly on the Autobot's side, even giving them free fuel, after getting involved in their war when Shockwave attacks an oil rig he owns and cripples one of his best workers. At one point, he's asked to help a government agency find out more about the Transformers, and tries to tell them the Autobots are good. He's promptly kicked out for this.
  • Mr. Zheng from the Le Transperceneige prequel comics is a billionaire doomsday preppier intent on using his fortune to make a Cool Train that preserve the people and culture of Earth in the event of an ecological disaster. He is open and public about what the train is and allows anyone to apply for a place on his train while being judged on merit instead of simply selling seats like his counterparts in other incarnations of the franchise do. Sadly, in the face of the Foregone Conclusion nature of the story, it seems likely that Zheng will either take a turn for the sinister or be overthrown by someone with less pure intentions.
  • Friday the 13th Special: Mr. Upland apparently built Camp Crystal Lake to bring joy to children rather than for any ulterior motive and the killing sprees that followed took a heavy toll on him. His children are implied to have tried to re-open the camp to honor him and that dream, and when Jason resurfaces and destroys their efforts, Miles is willing to eat their losses and keep from trying to build anything there again, while Laura wats to kill Jason to make it safe for people again.
  • Justice League of America: Vivian and Constance D'Aramis (who have the Collective Identity as the hero Crimson Fox) run their perfume company ethically and first started it to be an honest competitor to the Corrupt Corporate Executive who killed their parents, in order to drive him out of business and expose him for who he was.
  • Many Superhero stories feature Honest Corporate Executives who are targeted for everything from ransom kidnappings to sabotage by their crooked rivals, which necessitates the hero stepping in to help them. Occasionally, the Honest Executives themselves will cut out the middleman and become superheroes themselves, as noted above.
  • Veronica's father, Hiram Lodge, from Archie Comics, is usually shown to be a fair and honest executive, even once noting how he knows thousands of jobs hang in the balance of his decisions. He also often tries to teach Veronica what life is like for the vast majority of people who aren't as wealthy as him, to teach her some humility and compassion.

    Comic Strips 
  • Oliver "Daddy" Warbucks from Little Orphan Annie. The strip's creator had strong opinions about economics for which he made Warbucks the poster child. On the one hand, he hated the New Deal and any kind of government intervention in business; but on the other hand, he believed strongly that successful industrialists had a moral obligation to provide fair employment opportunities for others and to pay and treat their employees well, and that any business leader who failed that obligation was a villain perpetuating the Depression.
  • Diet Smith, the inventor and industrialist who provides Dick Tracy with his two-way wrist radios and assorted other gadgets.

    Fan Works 
  • In Mega Man: Defender of the Human Race, Scott Erickson is this. Sadly, he's also a Yes-Man.
  • Coreline has Stingray Industries CEO Sylia Stingray. Coming from a Cyber Punk Anime world, she has done stuff like build a private army with her Mega-Corp's security division, but she is definitely out to save the world and was given orders from certain silent partners to fight fire with fire... which she does once all of the charities, rebuilding and diplomacy do not work.
  • Rylian Telmar in Let the Galaxy Burn is a proud and prosperous entrepreneur who is wealthy enough to have bene offered a noble title, but refuses due to feeling that he's one of the little man at heart. He becomes involved in a coup against a very crazed king and becomes Master of Coin afterwards working to reform the grossly corrupt finances of the kingdom.

    Films — Animation 
  • Sulley becomes one at the end of Monsters, Inc. by finding a more practical energy source derived from making children happy instead of scaring them.
  • Austin Bux from Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer is very rich, and certainly not above commercialism, but is shown to be an all around decent guy and in the end promises to help Grandma Spankenheimer spread her store around the country.
  • Bigweld from Robots is a happy-go-lucky inventor who's always looking for new ideas and who believes in an open-door policy. He ends up getting ousted by Ratchet, who takes the company in a newer, more cynical direction.
  • Atlantis: The Lost Empire: Preston Whitmore is tremendously successful businessman who is very proud of the fact that he's going to the afterlife with a clear conscience.
  • Yoshino, the head of the Poseidon delegation in Appleseed Ex Machina. When Poseidon becomes aware that their loose phlebotinum is causing all the trouble, she and her corporation are more than willing to help clean up the mess.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Mr. Clamp from Gremlins 2: The New Batch. He didn't like the idea of the genetic splicing, gives the vampire guy the job he always wanted, etc. And he helps save the day and builds a nice little suburb. "Clamp Corners, where life slows to a crawl". Reportedly he was originally to be a full inversion, but John Glover was sick of playing villains and went against script.
  • Like his comic book example above, the film-version of Tony Stark becomes this after returning from being kidnapped. Granted, he was never corrupt in either version; it's really more a case of his becoming proactive in his attempts to do good after he returns from his experience, having learned to appreciate his life more.
  • TRON universe: Walter Gibbs was more interested in science and development than day-to-day operations of his company. Unfortunately, that gave Dillinger an opening. Flynn takes down Dillinger and gets to be one of these. TRON: Legacy rolls around and Alan Bradley is crossing this with Only Sane Man in the Encom boardroom. Fortunately, Sam did some needed growing up and will be taking his dad's old position after all.
  • Jeffrey Wigand, the tobacco company executive in The Insider who blows the whistle on his company's suppression of scientific evidence about the harmfulness of smoking.
  • The title character in Jerry Maguire suffers a crisis of conscience at the beginning and becomes determined to do right by his clients.
  • In Hotel Rwanda, the Belgian hotel executive played by Jean Reno is horrified by what is going on and does everything he can to aid his employees.
  • The Dark Knight Rises
    • Bruce Wayne drains his companies' finances into creating a clean and sustainable power source to solve the energy crisis. When he realises the new fusion core's technology could be used to create a weapon of mass destruction, he essentially bankrupts Wayne Enterprises by claiming the project failed rather than risk it falling into the wrong hands.
    • This seems to be a case of Like Father, Like Son, as Thomas Wayne almost ruined the company as well when he set about trying to help the city out of an economic crisis. His efforts (and his tragic death) made a difference, much to Ra's Al Ghul's annoyance.
  • In RoboCop, "The Old Man" who is chairman of OCP in the first movie seems to be this in comparison to the movie's Big Bad Dick Jones, but morphs into a Corrupt Corporate Executive in the second.
  • Jurassic Park: John Hammond truly believes in his vision of a theme park with real life dinosaurs. He doesn't like the blood-sucking lawyer and, when convinced that his park can never be made safe, abandons it. (Note that this was changed from the book, where he was more on the corrupt side of corporate executives, and it's one of the few changes to the book everyone agreed was for the better.)
  • Jurassic World: Hammond's Spiritual Successor Simon Masrani is very similar in fulfilling Hammond's dream, caring more about whether the dinosaurs and visitors are happy rather than profits. His problem was mainly biting off more than he could chew when he tried to breed an extra terrifying dinosaur for a new attraction and got killed for his trouble. It didn't help that his chief scientist and chief of security did a Face–Heel Turn, designing the new dinosaur as a war machine to sell to the military.
  • Vickers in Prometheus is probably the only honest executive ever employed by the Weyland Corporation. She expresses concern over the cost of the mission crippling the company. She is the only one actively concerned about the lives of the crew and who takes adequate precautions against alien contamination. Not that it helps.
  • Pierce Brosnan's character in A Christmas Star genuinely wants to invest in the village the story is set in. He wasn't aware that his employee was going to demolish the area to make an amusement park. He fired him instantly when he found out.
  • The Serpent and the Rainbow: Mr. Cassedy, The Hero's boss has a slight sarcastic streak, but is ultimately an honest pharmaceutical executive trying to legitimately acquire a powder with genuine medical applications.
  • Death Wish: Paul's client Ames Jainchill wants to make something good, rather than just making money, and has very specific standards about the environmental impact of his development.
    Jainchill: I don't build a thing that's going to be a slum in twenty years, and I won't doze those hills. What I build conforms to the land.

    Literature 
  • Airframe has Casey Singleton, an executive at the Norton Aircraft Company, who's tasked with investigating the cause of a deadly incident involving one of their planes. Though she tries to do the right thing throughout, toward the end she's turned up nothing beyond some videos of the terrifying ride, she's being hounded by reporters, and she's been set up by her own superior to take the fall if the plane is discredited.
  • Alice Adams: Mr. Lamb, who has kept Virgil Adams on the payroll throughout his illness, and tells him not to worry about coming back to work before he's ready. And apparently Virgil was pretty much dead weight at the factory even before he got sick, but Mr. Lamb considers Virgil a friend. So he's incensed when Virgil decides to open up a glue factory with the glue formula that he derived while working for Lamb.
  • In Ayn Rand's philosophy, the honest industrialist is one of the most noble figures a person can aspire to be, and it shows in her novel Atlas Shrugged. The heroes are all successful businessmen and industrialists, but one of their most sacred values is Honesty — making a fortune is only acceptable for them when you make it through your own honest effort and intelligence, not through plunder, dirty deals with politicians, or blackmail. To that end, Dagny Taggart offers to help a rival when her brother gets a new law passed deliberately to put him out of business. Hank Rearden refuses to join the corrupt politicians in exchange for their protection. Hank and Ken Dannager refuse to turn on each other when they get busted (Hank for selling and Ken for buying more of Hank's metal than permitted by ridiculous laws). The list goes on. Being wealthy isn't requisite for being in their club and earning their respect and sympathy, but being honest is.
  • The Case of the Toxic Spell Dump: Given how most of the entrepreneurs and CEO's investigated for potential polluting (such as Aviation innovator Magister Arnold, medical researcher Razman Durani and the manager of the titular dump, Tony Sudakis) turn out to be innocent there are a surprisingly large amount of these in the story (although they're unhappiness at being investigated makes this less apparent on a first read). Furthermore, the guilty party's motivation behind the dumping of toxic substances isn't corporate greed and cost-cutting, but rather the after effects of a nebulous conspiracy to resurrect a God of Evil.
  • In A Christmas Carol, whatever faults Ebenezer Scrooge has, the book makes clear that being a dishonest businessman is not one of them.
  • In Tom Clancy's Debt of Honor, Founder/Chairman of the Columbus Group of mutual funds George Winston is practically a saint, as are most of the Wall Street executives in the story.
  • The protagonist of One Trillion Dollars by Andreas Eschbach tries to be one of these. Mostly, he fails due to not understanding what consequences his actions actually have, but the intention is there.
  • Julia Evans in the trilogy by British sci-fi author Peter F. Hamilton about psychic-detective Greg Mandel. She inherits the Mega-Corp Event Horizon at a very young age and thus still has her youthful idealism, keeping most of her industry in Britain to provide work and a strong economy (though this also increases Event Horizon's power and influence within the country, giving her a stable power base) and quashes potentially harmful technologies rather than make a profit from them.
  • In the Honorverse, Klaus Hauptmann is an arrogant, aggressive, judgmental and vindictive human being in general, but he is also scrupulously honest in his dealings as the head of the Hauptman Cartel, the largest commercial/industrial combine in Manticore. Part of it is just rolled up in his pride at his reputation of being the wealthiest individual in the system by legitimate means, but even Honor Harrington, who was so infuriated by his actions that she threatened to kill him if he followed through on a threatnote , acknowledged that he likely had nothing to do with the corruption and treason she had discovered on the part of some of his underlings. When Space Pirates begin to attack Manticoran merchant ships passing through the Silesian Confederacy, Hauptmann, who always claims to care for his employees, puts his money where his mouth is and instructs every merchant captain in his employ to present Hauptmann's generous ransom offer to any pirate who boards a Hauptmann merchant ship; even more than just the promise, he means it. He also despises Manpower enough to build frigates for the Anti-Slavery League at below cost, knowing that they will be used by the Audubon Ballroom as privateers to go after slave ships.
    • Bernardus Van Dort and his partners provide interesting example due to started out as a cabal of Well-Intentioned Extremist/ Corrupt Corporate Executive's before becoming this. They built an economic monopoly, and they built it ruthlessly, but they did this to prevent a corrupt government from annexing them if they were economically weak and once that threat has passed, try to give back the economic opportunities to those they've exploited up to that point.
  • The short story "An Honest Death" by Howard Taylor. A pharmaceutical company has discovered the secret to relatively cheap immortality in the synergy of three of their drugs. They quickly realize they can't profit off this; the second it becomes public knowledge, there will be a massive uproar and the government will be forced to nationalize it. If the company resists, they'll start the worst war in human history. Instead, they hire social engineers and game theorists so that they can "ride the wave" and find a way to profit off the world transitioning to an immortal society. And then Death shows up and tells them to stop.
  • Manex, from the New Apsolon Trilogy in the Jedi Apprentice provides a somewhat pragmatic example. He spends most of his page-time as a Red Herring, and he is a bit hedonistic, but he ultimately qualifies for this trope. Te writer gives the sense that he chooses to be honest due to feeling that it would be needless and cowardly to stoop to corruption. He supports the reform government, due to personal distaste for the past dictatorship, and due to feeling that his business will actually do better in a free market with a government where people are happy and productive, and the democratic government can inspire the lifting various long-lasting trade embargoes. He also spends much of his page-time providing material aide and advice to the Jedi (especially after his brother is murdered by the villains), although it takes them a long time to completely trust him.
  • Elijah in Last Mage - his company is more of a safe, non-threatening to reality way to help people. And it fills the time.
  • Jean Valjean in Les Misérables. He becomes successful thanks to his new cheap method of manufacturing black jet while also managing to uplift the whole town's economy all the while taking care of his workers and even other people. He is so popular that he is elected mayor (after refusing the honour multiple times). He is wrecked with guilt after finding out that a woman he allowed to be fired based on rumours ended up destitute and eventually abandons his business to save an innocent man from prison.
  • Roarke in the In Death series is one of the wealthiest individuals in the world, with corporate interests in all kinds of sectors. He started out as a thief and a black marketeer, but by the time the series starts he's gone fully legitimate (when his police detective love interest asks, he remarks with tongue in cheek that he almost wishes he did still have some dirty business going so that he could give it all up for her sake). He treats his employees well and is quick to put a stop to any unethical shenanigans he discovers going on at the lower levels of his companies; in later books, he founds a shelter for victims of domestic abuse and makes sure that it stays well-funded and staffed by capable, caring people.
  • Jack Reacher
    • Chester Stone III from Tripwire might not be a great businessman, but there's no any indication that he's every broke or bent any laws with his home movie company, either before or after it started going belly up, and he in fact becomes a victim of the story due to the scheming to a very predatory Loan Shark.
    • Margaret Berenson from Bad Luck and Trouble seems a bit shifty, but is a fairly straight shooter who'd been looking into the off-the-books arms dealing of some of the companies employees, while taking careful security precautions until the life of her son was threatened in a pretty graphic way.
  • Victoria generally portrays the rich and powerful businessmen and execs in an unflattering light, but Governor Adams is a straight example of this archetype. Before he entered politics, he ran a paper mill, and his management style was the same then as it still remains in office: i.e., tough and competitive, but also fair and honest.
  • Whateley Universe: Ayla and the rest of the Goodkind family (minus Heather) are both this, Benevolent Bosses, and Uncle Pennybags. They are the richest and most honest people on the planet, think nothing of giving their employees benefits that rival Google's, and fund many many public works projects. The rest of the Goodkinds, however, have other flaws. Also a good Reconstruction of this trope. Being honest WORKS! Note that most of this is from Ayla's perspective... Ayla, however, is certainly an example.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Michael Bluth from Arrested Development is this for the most part, although he occasionally slips up. It's especially admirable in contrast to how his (now imprisoned) father handled the position.
  • Columbo Most of the ones to appear are indeed fairly corrupt but there are exceptions (several of them victims, such as the titular character from Last Salute to the Commodore, a Self-Made Man proud of the quality of his ships and upset about the dealings of his son-in-law. Another notable example is In The Conspirators an armament man that IRA representative Joe Devlin visits refuses to sell to him.
    Gun Dealer: What I sell goes out under license, strictly legal.
    Devlin: (irritably) I'm offering a considerable amount, man. Surely that'll cover any legal technicalities.
    Gun Dealer: You got the wrong guy, sorry.
  • Oliver Queen on Smallville, in sharp contrast to Lionel Luthor, Lex Luthor (who used to be this trope in the early seasons before becoming corrupt later on), and Tess Mercer. He may be a deeply screwed-up Broken Ace, and he has no problems with throwing his weight around, but his money was all made legitimately and he despises the way that companies like LuthorCorp treat the world as if it were their own personal stripmine. Later on, Ollie is joined in this role by Tess Mercer, who undergoes a Heel–Face Turn and joins the heroes.
  • Oliver Queen's stepfather Walter Steele in Arrow is one, in stark contrast to Ollie's mother Moira. When Oliver takes over his parents' business, he is technically an honest executive, it's just that he cares more about being the Arrow than running his business which is how his company gets bought out from under him.
  • Jack Donaghy of 30 Rock has gradually slid into this after spending the first season or so as a Pointy-Haired Boss CCE. Although he's far from being completely honest and loves playing hardball, he's been proven to be too fundamentally nice of a guy to be that other trope.
  • Person of Interest.
    • Harold Finch and his partner Nathan Ingram. Finch built a Machine that could surveil everyone to find threats to national security, and locked up the OS so tight nobody, not even himself, could access it and manipulate it. Nathan sold the Machine to the US Government for one dolllar because he believed that building it was his patriotic duty as an American citizen.
    • Several Persons of Interest are also this, though in most cases their opposition are Corrupt Corporate Executives.
  • Real Life executives on Undercover Boss invariably end their appearances with the promise to become a better example of this trope.
  • Rare for 24, but its seventh season features an example with Doug Knowles, who tries to help Tony Almeida when he discovers the lengths to which Jonas Hodges was willing to go to harm the country. Unfortunately, things don't go well for him when Hodges finds out.
  • The first episode of Mutant X shows a Genomex CEO determined to right the company's wrongs. He's promptly assassinated.
  • MacGyver (1985): In "Murderers' Sky", Adam Chung, the Chinese CEO of a large shipping company, refuses to have his business taken over by a Hong Kong criminal cartel. This leads to two assassination attempts on him... with the second being the one to end his life. Some of them work for Asshole Victim's and try to make things better when their bosses die, while others might be victims themselves, often due to their honesty obstructing a villains plan.
  • Murder, She Wrote: A fair number appear (although not as many of as [1] the other kind).
    • In Murder at the Electric Cathedral, Earl Fargo is the brother and businessman of televeangalsit Willie John Fargo and is never shown to abuse this trust, urging him to donate to charity responsibly.
    • Preston Giles, Jessica's first publisher is a man of decent business integrity who refuses to let himself be used for underhanded business practices Even after having become a murderer for non-business reasons.
    • Newspaper magnate Walter Revere and his son Paul in Deadline for Murder fight hard against their new business partners more sensationalist approach to reporting.
    • Anne Hathaway in The Way to Dusty Death, who comes across as a bit of a Token Good Teammate to the board of directors.
    • Good company CEO Larry Armstrong in Frozen Stiff donates to charity and takes a financial loss rather than put tainted milk on the market.
    • Edna Hayes, CEO of a pie-making company in The Taxman Cometh is innocent of the tax fraud she is accused of.
    • Walter Gilrich in For Whom the Balls Toll is portrayed as a major obstacle in his bother and business partners plan to demolish a historic home.
    • Shoe factory owner Owen Brownwell in If the Shoe Fits, who isn't guilty of anything worse than being behind on his rent.
    • Pasta chain owner Raimondo Bonelli from Shooting in Rome initially seems to have mafia ties but really is just an honest businessman who had to take out a loan due to all of the money he's been using to help get a movie made.
    • In Murder According to Maggie Brian Thursdan and Harriet De Vol, who work hard to keep the soon to be Asshole Victim from unjustly canceling the TV show most of the guest characters work for.
    • Both sides of the corporate merger in Death in Hong Kong genuinely want to make something decent in the face of China's takeover of Hong Kong. Some of the lowe-rankin executives, on the other hand...
    • Sean Griffith from A Killing in Cork is an unassuming young man who opposes the push to move the corporate factory somewhere else and eliminate dozens of local jobs, unlike his cousin, the boss.
    • Stockbroker Richard Ellston from Twice Dead spends a lot of the episode questioning his pharmaceutical colleagues about whether their new miracle drug really is unsafe and is furious when it finally turns out that it wasn't and wipes out him and the other stockholders.
    • Self-Made Man Niel Gillen in The Wind Around the Tower.
    Neil: Ah, anyone can make money if that' all you want to do. Problem is most developers destroy the past. Here you learn to reach a kind of accommodation.
  • David Wallace in The Office (US) sometimes comes off as a Pointy-Haired Boss when he cracks down on some of Michael's antics, but when one removes themselves from Michael's viewpoint, all of David's actions come off reasonable and well within previously established rules. His transferring of Holly after finding out about her romance to Michael is often cited as one of his more "villainous" actions, but it's well within the established company rules previously shown when Michael tried dating Jan while the latter still worked for Dunder-Mifflin. It's very telling that in "The Deposition", David Wallace comes off more sympathetic at the end of the episode than Jan, who is willing to throw Michael, her own boyfriend and only supporter of her case, under the bus, while David comes clean about Michael never having had a real chance at Jan's old job despite scoring an interview, with his honesty garnering some respect from Michael, who admits David's previously shady move is a sad, inevitable fact of life in corporate America.
    Michael: You expect to get screwed by your company, but you never expect to get screwed by your girlfriend.
  • Aruto Hiden from Kamen Rider Zero-One is both this and the titular hero. In contrast to villains such as Kuroto Dan or Juzaburo Namba, he became CEO not out of greed or a desire for power but to defend people from MetsubouJinrai.NET.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • Bullet Club's unprovoked and indiscriminate interference during Colt Cabana and Jay Lethal's world title match at Global Wars would normally be grounds for suspension in Ring of Honor but Nigel McGuinness declined to go through with it because the group makes ROH a lot of money. So he instead fined them and used that money to hire more security.

    Video Games 
  • At least one of the Silks in Black Market seems to think of themselves this way — though whether or not they're correct is open for debate.
  • In the second Knights of the Old Republic, the Czerka docking manager became upset over the dirty actions of his boss and became an informant for the Telos Security force. His dirty boss wants him dead. TSF wants him to come out of hiding to testify against his boss. Your character decides his fate, of course.
  • Deus Ex: Human Revolution: David Sarif is no angel and is certainly not afraid to use his wealth, charisma, and power to further his own goals. However, he is shown to care deeply about his employees, goes above and beyond to make quality products, has made an amazingly effective attempt to rebuild the devastated economy of 2020s Detroit, and genuinely believes in uplifting humanity through augmentation, epitomized by the billions he spends on research into making his single most profitable product, Neuropozyne(the Phlebotinum all augs are Dependent on), obsolete. This obviously makes him far more ethical than his adversaries, especially Zhao Yun Ru. Notable in that the aforementioned corrupt rival is doing much better than he is; not only do they dominate the market by cutting corners on products and spending the money on lawyers and bribes instead, acquire rival businesses by having mercs shoot up their facilities and frame him for unethical experiments while keeping her own well-hidden - but his government contacts all but openly admit that they're spying on him for her because they don't think he'll win.
  • Regal Bryant, from Tales of Symphonia is revealed to be the President of the neatly-run, efficient Lezareno Company, which owns a beach resort city, and provides the world with a vast array of quality consumer goods, from novelty Iron Maidens to high-quality handcuffs. Though he's in prison for murder when you first meet him, it's a bum rap. Turns out he's a disciplined, diplomatic, highly-intelligent gentleman.
  • The Borderlands series, which takes place in a galaxy ruled by Mega Corps, has a few examples. Corrupt Corporate Executive is the default, however, and there's often caveats to the honest ones you do find.
  • Reeve Tuesti of Final Fantasy VII is an example of the beleaguered Internal Reformist surrounded by Corrupt Corporate Executive types: President Shinra believes in controlling the world with money, and later his son Rufus prefers ruling through fear. The head of the Science department can only be described as a Mad Scientist, and the heads of Public Safety (read:military police) and Weapons Development are both General Rippers. Reeve himself is the head of Urban Development, not one of the departments that makes the company a great deal of money, and as such he has next to no influence on company policy...at least until he's ordered to become The Mole in the heroes' party via an animatronic cat he'd built as a hobby, and executes a neat Heel–Face Turn as soon as this is discovered.
  • Aaron Griffin in Gears of War 3, former CEO of Griffin Imulsion and current Badass Longcoat Stranded boss. As a CEO he was a huge asshole and a slavedriver with a 0% Approval Rating among his staff, but his was the only imulsion company with zero workplace deaths. He didn't give half a shit whether or not his workers were happy, as long as they were safe, and did a magazine interview where he chewed out his rival companies for trying so hard to be everybody's friend that they sacrifice the safety of their workers.
  • Full Throttle has Malcolm Corley, in contrast with his associate Adrian Ripburg.
  • The Elder Scrolls
    • In the series' mythology, Zenithar, the Aedric Divine God of Work and Commerce preaches that this is the type of person to be in business, and that the path to peace and prosperity is through earnest work and honest profit. He's described by his followers as the one most in-touch with mortal affairs, and is also described as the "god who will always win", as he makes it so he stands to gain from any action.
    • Morrowind:
      • Crassius Curio. He's a Councilor for Great House Hlaalu, the Dunmeri great house priding itself on its mercantile and trade skills. However, it also comes with a heaping dose of Corrupt Corporate Executives and lots of Chronic Backstabbing. Most of its councilors are in the pocket of the Camonna Tong, Morrowind's native mafia-esque Crime Organization. Curio, his creepy predilections aside, is actively working to clean up the corruption within the House and is one of only two councilors above the influence of the Camonna Tong. (The other is in permanent hiding, while Curio acts like an easily manipulated fool to stay beneath their radar.) In one particular example, when completing quests for Odral Helvi, you can report his orders to Crassius to receive alternate, less morally offensive ways to complete the quests (and eventually even get Helvi arrested).
      • During the Imperial Cult questline, an avatar of Zenithar can be encountered as the Redguard Jon Hawker, who was captured by smugglers. Giving him a Divine Intervention scroll has him reward you with a set of unique enchanted gloves, Zenithar's Warning and Zenithar's Wiles, which together can charm people and reduce enemies' will to fight you.
      • The East Empire Company questline in Bloodmoon features Falco Galenus, a Deputy (the rank immediately below Factor, the highest rank for EEC branches), who works to build up the newly founded Raven Rock mining colony into a prosperous settlement in an honest fashion, without resorting to bloodshed or theft. As such, the pivotal choice in the questline is between aligning with Falco, or the Factor, Carnius Magius, who very much does resort to bloodshed and theft, and wants the colony to fail for corrupt personal profit.
  • The Perrin Sequence in Warframe are an entire group of these, splintered off of the Corpus, a group of Corrupt Corporate Executive types that worship profit. To give you an idea of how different they are, the leader of the Sequence put up his vast fortune on a bet to save a child (whom a Corpus exec captured to extort money from the child's colony), and was unfazed when he lost that bet.
    • The "Deadlock Protocol" reveals that Parvos Granum, founder of the Corpus was a man who espoused ideals of self-reliance, hard work and treating employees right. Naturally, when he's utterly disgusted by the modern Corpus and plans on either reforming or restarting the Board.
  • Most of the Mega Corps of the Board in The Outer Worlds are vicious, insane, incompetent, or some combination thereof. Monarch Stellar Industries, on the other hand, was the Board's Token Good Teammate until getting kicked off; it's reasonably well-managed, and cares about its workers. Its CEO, Sanjar Nandi, is likewise a Reasonable Authority Figure who can even sign a peace treaty with anti-capitalist anarchists he shares his planet with.

    Web Animation 
  • Nicholas Schnee from the backstory of RWBY founded the Schnee Dust Company in order to help his kingdom deal with their dwindling resources. He even attended combat school with the intention of personally defending his workers during dangerous expeditions. His granddaughter, Weiss, also seeks to be this if she ever replaces her Corrupt Corporate Executive of a father.

    Web Comics 
  • Arthur in the contemporary arc of Arthur, King of Time and Space, as shown here.
  • When Kell accidentally takes over Herd Thinners in Kevin & Kell she tries to change the corporation's corrupt policies. It turns out the board of directors are still loyal to R.L. and waiting for him to recover from his injuries. She later founds her own company and maintains a very loyal workforce because she cares about her employees and all their differences.
  • Richard Okubo, Brian's most important client in Rhapsodies. Even the very leftwing Kate is impressed by him.
  • Cosmic Dash has Walter Kimney, CEO of Kimney Robotics and high-ranked executive in its parent company GalactiCorp. He quickly strikes a friendship with the protagonists, and after they lost their ship recovering stolen GalactiCorp property, he's quick to point out the company owes them. In the end, he hires them all in a new GC subsidiary, and provides them with a new ship. In fact, he's such a nice guy that even a crime lord can't fathom who would send an assassin after him: he just has no known enemies.
  • Freefall has Mr. Ishiguro, who replaces his incompetent uncle Mr. Kornada, backs a referendum allowing the Jean colonists to vote for robot liberation, abides by the results, supports the police in their inquiries on his uncle's dealings, and makes it a point to show the Mayor he hopes to make this trope the galactic standard.

    Western Animation 
  • In Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers, a well-meaning mining executive wants the Rangers to hunt down Space Whales that are threatening his miners. It's nothing against the whales, but he wants his people protected. When the Rangers and Space Peace (an Affectionate Parody of Greenpeace) find an alternate solution where the whales avoid areas with mining in progress and leave behind a hydrocarbon gas that can be used as rocket fuel, the executive is delighted about everyone coming out ahead.
  • The Legend of Korra
    • Hiroshi Sato became one of the richest men in Republic City from running a legitimate business. He's apparently passing on his ethics to his daughter. Subverted in that he's not only an Equalist, but also because he framed his competitor, Cabbage Corp, making him abhorrently immoral.
    • Played straight with his daughter, Asami, when she assumes control over the company. She's one of the main heroes, and makes great strides in rebuilding the city after the events of season 2.
    • The Eccentric Millionaire Varrick from Season 2 initially seems like this; there's some unsavory rumors, and he will resort to bribery to re-rig a Kangaroo Court, but he's been a decent ally to Korra nonetheless. Later on, he proves to have been manipulating the war so that he can potentially profit from it, even secretly bankrupting Future Industries so that he could buy it out from Asami. Then he re-appears in season 3 because his new patron believes in second chances. In season 4, he fully fits this trope, when he refuses to weaponize spirit vine technology due to its dangerous potential, despite how much money he could make off it.
  • Scrooge McDuck of DuckTales (1987) is proud that every red cent of his fortune was earned square.
  • Jerrica Benton, a.k.a. Jem is the owner of the Starlight Music label, and not only does she do all her business dealings fairly but she also uses the profits to fund Starlight House foster home for young girls.
  • Bruce Wayne from Batman: The Animated Series certainly counts. He is seen many times to be Reasonable Authority Figure with his employees and cancels several deals with other companies after discovering their dirty secrets as the Dark Knight.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: The appropriately named Filthy Rich is this, quite surprisingly considering what his daughter Diamond Tiara and wife Spoiled Rich are like (though the latter is to blame for the former). He's very amiable to the Apple Family (because they helped him gain most of his fortune) and an all-around nice guy to everyone. His rare bits of annoyances were when Cheerilee refers to him by his first name (which is understandable, given the name) though she corrects himself quickly and in a flashback when he thought Applejack was trying to renege on a business deal. Somewhat averted with his Equestria Girls counterpart in Legend of Everfree who acts the part of a Corrupt Corporate Executive but doesn't actually do anything corrupt or amoral, simply wanting to lay claim to land he now legally owns and even giving Gloriosa Daisy an extra week to pay her mortgage which he, albeit begrudgingly, actually honors in the end.
  • The antagonist of The Raccoons, Cyril Sneer, started the series off as a Corrupt Corporate Executive. However, as the series progressed, he began to reform, slowly but surely, into a more honest and better CEO.

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