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Playing With / Corrupt Corporate Executive

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Basic Trope: A senior manager, CEO or owner of a major definitely-for-profit corporation who is out to make as much money and gain as much power as possible, by any means available, regardless of who suffers.

  • Straight: The CEO of Trope Co. underpays and overworks the employees while awarding himself huge bonuses, uses unethical methods to drive competitors out of business, makes corporate decisions based on short-term profit rather than the long-term financial health of the company, and cheats at golf.
  • Exaggerated:
  • Downplayed:
    • Trope Co's CEO isn't actively cruel to his employees or trying to screw over the common man, but his "legal shortcuts" and sketchy budget planning to get his way and make sure his company succeed, tends to leave some damage in their wake.
    • Advertisement:
    • Trope Co's CEO is a Knight Templar or other villain with non-financial motives, who merely uses Trope Co as a source of Offscreen Villain Dark Matter.
    • Trope Co's CEO provides a good product and efficient service to his customer base, and significant profits to his shareholders, but both of these are dependent on mistreating and exploiting his employees in the name of "efficiency".
  • Justified:
  • Inverted:
  • Subverted: The heroes think the CEO of Trope Co is a Corrupt Corporate Executive, but he's actually an honest and thrifty person who runs the company according to strict ethical and legal guidelines.
  • Double Subverted: So the Board of Directors of Trope Co fire that CEO and hire one that promises them maximum profits by any means necessary.
  • Parodied:
  • Zig Zagged: The CEO of Trope Co seems to be corrupt, but is actually staying within ethical and legal guidelines...until the stock prices fall, at which point he starts using illegal methods, but then he's called out on it by his innocent daughter, so he returns to proper behavior, only to be fired in favor of a more profit-driven CEO.
  • Averted: All corporate executives in the story are simply businessmen who do their jobs, without overreaching or using unethical methods.
  • Enforced:
    • Entire work is an anti-corporate Author Tract. The writer is on board, and he had an unpleasant run-in with corporations in his past.
    • Alternatively: "We need a major Unfettered antagonist with no restrictions whatsoever except Greed. Executives who desire profit are Acceptable Targets. Let's use one of those."
    • "The majority of viewers hate their bosses and jobs anyway, so the boss is evil. Besides, Ambition Is Evil, and you've gotta have a truckload of the stuff to climb to the top of the corporate ladder."
  • Lampshaded: "Just how does this plan make money for Trope Co, as opposed to you, personally?"
  • Invoked: The Trope Co Board of Directors deliberately hire a CEO who promises big profits by any means necessary, and refuse to hire anyone who seems too law-abiding.
  • Defied: Trope Co has strict ethical guidelines, and fires any executive that crosses the line.
  • Exploited: The corrupt CEO's personal assistant uses her boss' malfeasance to hide her own embezzlement, secure in the knowledge that he'll be blamed for any illegal actions.
  • Discussed:
    • "I think we'll find someone at Trope Co's responsible for this outrage. You can never trust corporate types."
    • "Of course I'm sneeringly evil. Why did you expect to find up here, a nursery crèche and kitten sanctuary?"
  • Conversed: "Why are there no good executives on this show?"
  • Deconstructed:
    • The CEO of Trope Co made his way to the top by ruthlessness and greed, but discovers once he's up there that his wealth is hollow, and that he has no actual friends, only yes-men. But he has to keep up his corrupt ways, despite the growing pit of emptiness in his soul, because Trope Co will collapse unless he doesn't. Worse, reformers in government are trying to enforce the law and the investigation is getting very close to him. However, this is all pointless as the costs for PR to cover the villainy & keep people willing to deal with Trope Co mount, consuming more and more of the budget, and the more Genre Savvy realize that there was really no way that buying good publicity could work forever.
    • After the CEO's short-sighted policies and embezzlement nearly drive the company into the ground the board of directors decides to replace the CEO with someone less corrupt.
    • The CEO fails to realize that he's mortal like everyone else. And despite his highly paid personal militia, he ends up killed by one of the persons whose life he destroyed in his quest for status and money.
  • Reconstructed: The CEO is reminded that life at the top is pretty cool after all, and he can Screw the Rules, I Have Money! to buy new friends and get the government off his back.

Miss Haberdasher, take a note. "Dear TV Tropes, I am appalled by your characterization of the CEO of Trope Co., myself, as a less than honest person. Cease and desist, or I will buy your internet provider and shut you down. Yours Truly, etc." And send it back to Corrupt Corporate Executive.


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