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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

Meet a powerful businessperson, who is not willing to profit at the expense of sacrificing their moral principles such as business/social ethics, corporate responsibility, taking care of their employees, or protecting the environment (unless the affected party also profits in this manner). Extreme examples may even do so in spite of a great detriment to their business operations and profits.

The question then becomes: if he or she succeeds, then how do they do it without being a predatory "shark"? It could be all that positive public relations messages are 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.

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.

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 is trying to resist the rest's rampant corruption, he would probably be also an Internal Reformist or a flavor of Anti-Villain. 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. He may also be Sympathetic Slave Owner if he does have slaves working for him.

Whether the Honest Corporate Executive is actually Truth in Television is a hotly debated issue. For every story that seemingly validates it for some, there are horror stories of CEOs who deforest the state, drain/pollute an entire watershed, lay off thousands of long-serving employees, have terrible working conditions and minimum wages, and even foster widespread sexual misconduct—with executives more inclined to defend these practices than do much about them. So No Real Life Examples, Please!.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • The Brave Express Might Gaine: The main character Maito Senpuuji is the young and rich CEO of the Senpuuji Concern and generally runs his concern in a most fair manner and prioritizes the safety of his workers and the people he had business with. If there's a profitable venture but it risks a lot of danger for the innocents, he'll stop the venture at once. He'd then use his honestly-gained riches to fund crime-fighting with his giant robot, especially when there's a lot of criminals trying to threaten his city or sometimes misuse his products.
  • 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.
  • Megalo Box: Yukiko Shirato is honest, if very morally grey. She runs an honest business but ultimately intends for the Gear she's producing to be used for industrial or military use. She considers the Megalo Boxing tournament she's sponsoring and Yuri (the boxer showcasing her Gear prototype) to be little more than a marketing gimmick. She also cuts off ties to Yuri when he makes it clear he's tired of being her advertising mascot. By the second season, she has divested the military contract and focused on medical use for Gear, but she still remains laser-focused on the profitability of her business and technology.
  • 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.
    • An even greater example, though only mentioned in passing, is the company whose stock Kaiba purchases 51% of when making a bet with Gozaburo that he could turn a million-dollar investment into ten million. He intentionally seeks out a company with a reputation for treating its employees like family then threatens to fire all of them with his new majority stake, forcing the CEO to effectively give him all the company's profits in return for him not following through with it.
  • 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 were more personal than business.

    Comic Books 
  • 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.
  • Archie Comics: Hiram Lodge 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.
  • The DCU:
    • Batman: Bruce Wayne, in his Millionaire Playboy-slash-Uncle Pennybags persona, especially his DC Animated Universe version.
      • Lucius Fox, Wayne Enterprises' CEO to Bruce's President, is also an equally honest businessman.
      • The Silver Age of Comic Books story ''Batman and Superman, Swamis Inc." has a struggling industrialist and frequent charity donor consult a psychic (really an undercover Batman) for advice about how to avoid bankruptcy without cheating anyone into buying his worthless business. 
    • Blue Beetle: Ted Kord, as head of Kord Industries.
    • Green Arrow: Oliver Queen started as this before he evolved beyond being a Batman expy.
    • 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.
    • Mister Terrific, a.k.a. Michael Holt, as head of Terrifictech: featured in various DC series, including The Flash.
  • Disney Ducks Comic Universe has Scrooge McDuck. Call him a greedy bargainer, call him a slave-driving 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.
  • 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 wants to kill Jason to make it safe for people again.
  • Largo Winch is all about a young inheritor trying his utmost to be this, but is surrounded by money-grubbing, power-hungry, and backstabbing bastards.
  • Marvel Universe:
    • 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.
    • Spider-Man: In most stories (and especially more recent ones), J. Jonah Jameson ultimately falls into this trope. As Da Editor of The Daily Bugle, he's gruff, short-tempered, and makes absolutely no secret of his outright hatred for the webslinger. But in addition to being a good guy deep down, he's also unflinchingly moral. J.J. always protects his sources (to the point of being jailed at least twice for doing so), is one of the only media moguls in the city who refuses to be bought out by The Kingpin, and openly supports mutant rights in an era when anti-"mutie" sentiment is rampant.note  Earlier incarnations showed him as more amoral and obsessed in taking down Spider-Man (for example, he funded the research that turned Mac Gargan into the Scorpion), but as Character Development kicked in, he gradually evolved into this trope—to the point of fighting off demons when the Bugle's offices were overrun during an attack from Hell.
    • The Wasp: Janet Van Dyne is shown to manage both her own fashion company and her ex-husband's scientific research company with both competence and ethical practices. Her developing skill at this actually aided when she became the Avengers' chairperson, as she applied her business leadership skills to managing the Avengers. In the 2010s, she also took to financing her step-daughter's scientific research group, providing research funding to some under-privileged Child Prodigy teens, hiring her friend Bobbi Morse/Mockingbird as a mentor/protector to them, and hiring petty supervillains Poundcakes and Letha of the Grapplers as security in order to give them financial incentive to stay clear of criminal activity.
  • Richard Rich Sr. from Richie Rich, by all accounts, became the richest man in the world through honest means and continues to practice them well into his tenure and after starting a family. On top of having excellent financial talent and investment sense, he pays his employees excellent wages and ensures lasting job security, and has reportedly never needed to fire anyone in his life as he's earned their genuine loyalty and productivity. The film directly places him and his methods against the villainous Van Dough — once Van Dough attempts to usurp the company and begins acting on "easier", but far less ethical practices (massive downsizing, slashing wages, and quietly "taking out" anyone in their way to fortunes), the differences are night and day.
  • In Sonic the Comic, Charmy Bee after he bought out Crimson Cobra Inc ended the threat of the villain The Crimson Cobra.
  • The Transformers (Marvel): 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 preserves 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.
  • 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.

    Comic Strips 
  • Diet Smith, the inventor and industrialist who provides Dick Tracy with his two-way wrist radios and assorted other gadgets.
  • 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.

    Fan Works 
  • Coreline has Stingray Industries CEO Sylia Stingray. Coming from a Cyberpunk 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.
  • Fall Into the River: Sabinus Snick is the only casino manager in the Capitol who wants to end the Hunger Games and Snow's tyranny over the districts rather than continue to profit off them.
  • Rylian Telmar in Let the Galaxy Burn is a proud and prosperous entrepreneur who is wealthy enough to have been offered a noble title, but refuses due to feeling that he's one of the little men 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.
  • In Mega Man: Defender of the Human Race, Scott Erickson is this. Sadly, he's also a Yes-Man.
  • The Pieces Lie Where They Fell: The sequel, Picking Up the Pieces, introduces Night Blade's sister Hidden Dagger. Her dealings are done fair and square, and she enjoys getting everypony exactly what they need in them, such as negotiating with a business-changeling to arrange a productive outcome for them while helping the changeling race as a whole in the process.
  • Prehistoric Earth and its later Continuity Reboot Prehistoric Park Reimagined feature Theodore Richardson. As CEO of resident Megacorp Novum, he is the In-Universe 8th richest man in the world, and he's also 100% benevolent.

    Films — Animation 
  • 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.
  • Atlantis: The Lost Empire: Preston Whitmore is a tremendously successful businessman who is very proud of the fact that he's going to the afterlife with a clear conscience.
  • 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.
  • In Incredibles 2, Winston Deavor comes across as a well-intentioned proponent of getting Supers legalized again and is willing to devote the resources of his telecommunications company to that goal. While there were points in the story that implied Winston was secretly the villain, it turns out he actually was completely honest about his beliefs and bravely risks his life to help save the day.
  • 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.
  • 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.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid:
    • Gail is quick to say that she's worked hard to get where she is and is skeptical about the supposed immortality bringing drugs in the first place, pointing out that they've yet to stand the test of human trials.
    • Ultimately subverted (although not in a major way) with Gordon, he is a major pusher for continuing after the orchid but also indicates that any drugs from the orchid could/should be sold for affordable prices (if only because it will be in high enough demand to afford it). He's a bit of a Jerkass though and somewhat suggests selling any new anesthetic derived from the spider to the highest bidder rather than turning it back over to their company.
  • The CEO of Mattel from Barbie (2023) is first framed as being corrupt — he's occasionally rude and patronizing towards employees, postures himself as a feminist but glaringly has very few women in the company's ranks, and is trying to send Barbie back to Barbieland — but is slowly revealed to overall be a decent man who sincerely wants to provide positive entertainment for young girls through Barbie, and while his actions in the film are questionable, he's never actually shown doing anything strictly "villainous" in his CEO position, with his decisions being from misguided, but sincere concern for the well-being of everyone involved. Late in the film, he admits that as an adult man, he only became a corporate suit because his dream of "make little girls happy" is too creepy for literally any other career.
  • Cyclone (1978): Downplayed with Mr. Taylor from the plane. He's flying to Mexico to try and put a stop to a fisherman's union and doesn't get why people want one. On the other hand, he argues that he pays good prices for the seafood the fishermen catch and gives them and their families high-quality housing and low-interest loans. He's still one of the more selfish and unhelpful survivors but doesn't display a complete Lack of Empathy.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Earthquake: Sam Royce is a scrupulous construction firm owner who only promotes his son-in-law because he's competent and not out of nepotism (or so he insists). During the disaster, he works hard to try to get his employees (from his office staff to window washers) to safety regardless of the risks to his life, with mixed success.
  • The Fighting Seabees: Donovan strives to serve his country during the war by using his company to help with vital construction projects while keeping his men as safe as possible.
  • 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.
  • The Grudge: Susan comes across as one, although it isn't shown exactly what she does so it's hard to tell for sure. She's seen working in a cubicle and talking into a headset, and spends all of her screen time prior to being menaced by the ghosts either showing concerns about getting her mother safe and pleasant care or being respectful of local customs.
  • In Hotel Rwanda, Paul's boss in Belgium, Mr. Tillens, who is horrified by the genocide, does what he can to help Paul and the refugees, notably doing more than his nation's actual government to help.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • The title character in Jerry Maguire suffers a crisis of conscience at the beginning and becomes determined to do right by his clients.
  • Jurassic Park (1993): 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.
  • Other People's Money: Deconstructed. Jorgy is a textbook example of an honest, sincere CEO who looks after his employees and wants to contribute to his community. However, his general decency also leaves him in complete denial about the fact that his company is hilariously unprofitable, and he refuses to make changes or let go of the idea that things will turn around tomorrow if he just keeps going.
  • 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.
  • Meet Joe Black: Bill Parrish, played by Anthony Hopkins, is an incredibly wealthy media mogul who nonetheless manages to be principled; while he fully admits to turning a profit, he also wants to keep the news his company presents unbiased and truthful; part of the plot is his attempts to resist a buy-out by a more Corrupt Corporate Executive who he believes will manipulate the media in favor of more profit.
  • Reap the Wild Wind: Steve and his bosses are honest men dedicated to stopping Cutler and his wreckers (although this is partially to protect their own profits), and Steve also tries to defend Jack from being scapegoated even though they're romantic rivals.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Tremors 2: Aftershocks: When Graboids start eating his workers, Ortega shuts down the oil field until they can be dealt with and hires the most experienced person he can find to handle the job. While this could be mere Enlightened Self-Interest, he also has a friendly conversation with the lowest-ranking employee of the skeleton crew watching the refinery. Based on a line from the third movie, he also pays Earl, Grady, and Burt their promised wages even though they inadvertently destroy the refinery in the process.
  • Triple Threat (2019): Tian Xiao Xian, an heiress from China, pledges money to charity in order to combat corruption.
  • TRON universe: Walter Gibbs was more interested in science and development than the 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.

  • 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, 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 their 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. However, the story goes to some length to show that merely being honest does not make him a good person. The Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come shows him two of his debtors who rejoice in his death since they know that he would never have let them have the 48 hours more than in the contract that they needed to be able to pay back the loan, but would have taken them to the cleaners instead. Scrooge's fiancée also leaves him because she realizes that he no longer sees their engagement as an emotional affair, but just another deal he has gotten into and now must fulfill to the best of his ability.
  • The short stories of Christopher Anvil have a few.
    • ''Beware of Greeks Bearing Gifts" has Mr. Peabody, the owner of an armament company who insists on his revolutionary new rifle being sold for barely a third of the price that he could charge for it due to his (correct) belief that the Benevolent Alien Invasion is trying to lull humanity into a false sense of security and wanting more people to feel inclined to buy his armor-piercing rifle for when it comes time to fight back.
    • Financier Jacob Arnow in "Top Line" freely admits that he's out to make money, but he's also the backer of a new car that surpasses regular science fiction territory with how fuel efficient it is and selling the cars remarkably cheap partially out of confidence they'll become more profitable in the long run, but partially in order to end a severe financial crisis, with him and his partner specifically not giving much consideration to the bottom line that so many of their rivals keep an eye on.
    • In "Gadget V. Trend" J. Paul Hughes, a scientist and company director who develops a nearly indestructible substance initially put to use in cars unsuccessfully pleads with his fellow businessmen to stop selling it after seeing its use cause international chaos, such as being used by criminals to build unstoppable getaway cars or people losing their land to eminent domain to keep out the government.
    • Recurring character Sam Banner owns a pharmaceutical company that makes drugs that increase people's intelligence, prevent hangovers, cure the common cold, and make people friendlier. Banner also works to make antidotes to his various drugs in case they have any unwelcome side effects (e.g. the friendliness drug makes a bank guard let two robbers take all of the money in the vault) and distributes them in a way that decreases his profit margin whenever any side effects manifest and are harming society as a whole.
    • Recurring character James Cardan, the founder of a technology company, hires people who he knows will speak plainly to him and is reluctant to fire his employees for the sake of the bottom line. In his three appearances (each in a different genre) he bluffs a fleet of alien invaders into leaving Earth alone, figures out a way to encourage nuclear disarmament, and becomes a leader of society after nearly all machines stop working.
  • 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. Hamilton created the character because he felt the Corrupt Corporate Executive trope had been overdone.
  • 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 an interesting example due to starting out as a cabal of Well Intentioned Extremists/Corrupt Corporate Executives 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 from 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.
  • 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 indication that he's ever broken 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.
  • 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. The 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 of various long-lasting trade embargoes. He also spends much of his page-time providing material aid 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 wracked 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.
  • Teen Power Inc.: Nick’s father runs a prosperous import-export for all kinds of products. While his business rarely gets much attention when (in The Case of Crazy Claude) he learns that one of his associates is a thief, he helps trap the man, spreads word about his untrustworthiness, and helps the victim of the thefts get the money and success that should have been his all along.
  • 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 
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • The Dukes of Hazzard: Boss Hogg's White Sheep twin brother (a One-Shot Character) has spent years traveling across South America and made several fortunes from oil wells, cattle ranches, emerald mines, and lumberyards. He gives all of his money to charity almost as fast as he makes it. At the end of the episode, he even gives away his car and hitchhikes out of town.
  • Jericho (2006): Season 2 character Trish Merrick is a low-ranking business executive at a thoroughly corrupt company but is pretty benevolent herself. She tries to help the people of Jericho during her time in town, orders Goetz to put a stop to his embezzling, and fires Goetz (cancelling his protection from prosecution) after he kills Bonnie.
  • 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.
  • Leverage: Despite the premise of the show, the crew would bump into a few of these from time to time.
    • "The Top Hat Job" Mr. Price seems appropriately offended that his V.P. was going to erase a report on tainted food and allow people to get sick and possibly die.
    • "The Long Way Down Job": Allen Scott was murdered by his partner because he was an honest man who had learned that his partner was illegally foreclosing on homes they didn't even hold loans on to make money. He managed to record a Dying Declaration that helps convict the other man.
    • "The Lonely Hearts Job": Walt Whitman Wellesly IV is old money, but Nate has to concede, after Wellesly tearfully begs him for help, that he was a fairly decent CEO with nothing in his business dealings that would make him a target for the Leverage team.
    • "The White Rabbit Job" Eliot notes that the mark, Charles Dodgeson, hasn't broken any laws and is not the sort of person they target. The whole reason the team was asked to intervene is that Dodgeson is suffering from a guilt complex from an accident where his cousin died, and he's taking his company down with him, but not because of illegal or immoral practices, but more because he couldn't focus on the job due to his misplaced survivor's guilt.
  • Leverage: Redemption: Corporate executive might not be the right term for him, but Deric Springer owns a successful gaming company. He's a reclusive poet who developed the game himself, cares deeply about the feelings and positive experiences of the fans, values his word, and prefers to do deals on a handshake. He does go back on his promise to sell his company to the Villain of the Week, but only after it's made abundantly clear that it's the right thing to do.
  • 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 Victims and try to make things better when their bosses die, while others might be victims themselves, often due to their honesty obstructing a villain's plan.
  • Murder, She Wrote: A fair number appear (although not as many as the other kind).
    • In Murder at the Electric Cathedral, Earl Fargo is the brother and business manager of televangelist 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 partner's 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.
    • Food 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 brother and business partners' plan to demolish a historic home.
    • Shoe factory owner Owen Brownwell in If the Shoe Fits 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 Harriet De Vol, works 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 lower-ranking 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. That being said this might just be out of a desire to protect his investment.
    • Self-Made Man Niel Gillen in The Wind Around the Tower.
      Neil: Ah, anyone can make money if that's all you want to do. Problem is most developers destroy the past. Here you learn to reach a kind of accommodation.
    • In "Snow White, Blood Red" sportswear manufacturer Pamela Leeds is portrayed fairly sympathetically, aside perhaps from the unprofessionalism of sleeping with Gunanr when they had a contract together. Her decision to try and replace Gunnar with Larry is portrayed sympathetically. After Larry is murdered too, she isn't concerned with the lost contract, but simply shaken and saddened about why someone would kill "that sweet kid."
  • The first episode of Mutant X shows a Genomex CEO determined to right the company's wrongs. He's promptly assassinated.
  • 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 as reasonable and well within previously established rules. His transferring of Holly after finding out about her romance with 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 as 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.
  • 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 dollar 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.
  • Reacher:
    • As shown in a flashback, currency manager Paul Hubble only got involved in the counterfeiting ring after he was tricked into moving dirty money for a seemingly legitimate purpose and is horrified to find out (even before being forced to witness a murder to warn him) that his new boss means business. Despite the risks and being offered four times his previous salary, he never becomes comfortable with the racket and tries to tip off the authorities the first chance he gets.
    • While Finlay is posing as a junior employee to pump Hubble's former boss at the bank for information, she seems respectable and accommodating and mentions that she didn't lay Hubble off even though his division of the bank was doing poorly.
  • 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 strip mine. Later on, Ollie is joined in this role by Tess Mercer, who undergoes a Heel–Face Turn and joins the heroes.
  • Stargirl (2020): Barb is initially a low-ranking yet idealistic member of Jordan's staff who suggests preserving reminders of better days. By season 2, she's seen participating in board meetings and manages to come up with a strategy that will avoid closing a factory and putting almost 2,000 people out of work, even though she and the other board members won't actually make money by implementing her idea.
  • Real Life executives on Undercover Boss invariably end their appearances with the promise to become a better example of this trope.

    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 
  • In a sharp contrast to literally every other corporate overlord throughout the Armored Core franchise, Elan Cubis of PROGTECH from Armored Core: Master of Arena shows himself to be a reasonable and supportive businessman who is constantly under attack from unknown forces.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Full Throttle has Malcolm Corley, in contrast with his associate Adrian Ripburg.
  • 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 emulsion 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.
  • In Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords, 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.
  • 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.
  • Of the two executives that would run Macro Cosmos in Pokémon Sword and Shield, Chairman Rose zigzags between this and the Corrupt variant (he's technically the Big Bad, but his villainy has nothing to do with his corporation, which maintains a stellar reputation, and he's a Well-Intentioned Extremist trying to solve an energy crisis anyway), and his successor Leon is a straight example, actively using his position to help Galar and its people.
  • The Corporate Authority from Stellaris encourages this mentality to some extent (unless playing as a Criminal Heritage Megacorp). The main way to earn credits and power as a Corporate government is by setting up Branch Offices on planets belonging to other Empires, and then setting up extra facilities.
    • First, the easiest way to set up Branch Offices is to be in a Trade Agreement or in The Federation with the other empire. A history of fair dealings is the easiest way to get other nations to be willing to trade with you.
    • Second, your Branch Offices generate extra Energy Credits based on the Trade Value collected on that world, and worlds generate trade if and when they are prospering, so this encourages you to help them grow: more prosperous worlds mean more profits.
    • Third, any Corporate building you set up benefits you (usually by giving you resources) *and* the planet you build it on (usually by providing jobs), so once again, this is mutually beneficial.
  • 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.
  • Director Khalid Al-Ashgar, the leader of Project Exodus in Terra Invicta. What ethical lines he does cross are more in pursuit of his ideological goals rather than any desire for profit.
  • Warframe:
    • The Corpus are one of the two main enemy factions, an incredibly corrupt and exploitative Mega-Corp that literally worship Profit and will go to any means to attain it. The Perrin Sequence are a splinter group of the Corpus that reject their war-profiteering doctrine, believing instead in mutual prosperity and peace through fair, ethical trade. Their leader, Ergo Glast, is so dedicated to these ideals that he stakes the entirety of his vast fortune on a bet to save a child kidnapped by a Corpus executive, and remains unfazed even when he loses that bet (due to it being rigged against him).
    • The "Deadlock Protocol" reveals that the founder of the Corpus, Parvos Granum, was a man who espoused ideals of self-reliance, hard work, and treating employees right. Naturally, when he manages to get out of his void prison he's utterly disgusted by the modern Corpus and plans on either reforming or restarting the Board.

    Visual Novels 
  • Hank Sharp from Melody readily admits letting Bethany and Steve backstage by accident when the protagonist calls him out on it.

    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.

  • Arthur in the contemporary arc of Arthur, King of Time and Space, as shown here.
  • 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 into his uncle's dealings, and makes it a point to show the Mayor he hopes to make this trope the galactic standard. Subverted in that Ishiguro is also primarily motivated by greed, he just finds an honest approach more profitable long-term and thinks there's more money to be had from the sapient robots as customers than as product.
  • 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.

    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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Justice League: A TV network executive who finds out that he was tricked into selling airtime to the Joker immediately stops the broadcast before Joker can go on the air. Unfortunately, Joker bought airtime on all of the other networks as well.
  • The Legend of Korra
    • Hiroshi Sato became one of the richest men in Republic City by 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 Sato 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.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic: The appropriately named Filthy Rich is this, quite surprising 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 annoyance 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.
  • In an episode of Mummies Alive!, Presley's mother Amanda is pleading with a businessman who wants to tear down a historical old building. However, he points out that the reason why he's doing this is not to make himself rich, but it's because he genuinely cares about the well-being of others and does not want anyone to get hurt due to how unsafe the building is.
    Mr. Ludie: Hey I'm not some greedy guy getting rich, I just don't want to have bricks falling on people's heads.
  • Pantheon: Chanda, who exposits to several investors how U.I. will make the world a brighter place. Unfortunately, his boss Mr. Prasad is not this and decides to punish Chanda for going against his plans.
  • 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.