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The inverse of Corrupt Corporate Executive, who refuses to make money at the cost of business/social ethics, through crime, or by harming the natural environment, unless the natural environment would come out stronger in the long run. Extreme examples may even do so in spite of great detriment to their business operations. But if you sign a contract with him and leave any loophole, he won't have any problems taking full advantage of it.

This can lead to a bit of Fridge Logic if this Exec's company is doing as well as, or better than, his corrupt rival. 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. In the worst case scenario, this can have the effect of either turning the Corrupt Corporate Executive into a Card-Carrying Villain or making the Honest Corporate Executive's business savvy an Informed Attribute, especially if the differences in their approaches are a central theme of the work.

In the best case scenario, the different rates of success are portrayed as a result of the Honest Exec actually being a more talented businessman, whereas the less-talented Corrupt Exec needs to "cheat" to succeed. It's also possible that the Corrupt Corporate Executive gets ahead through cheating or otherwise being unethical to achieve more immediate success, but the Honest Corporate Executive wins in the long run because his customers prefer his dependability and/or his employees are more motivated.

Often also (but not necessarily) 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.

No Real Life Examples, please. They exist. We know.


Anime And Manga

  • Despite jokes thanks to the Abridged Series, Seto Kaiba from Yu-Gi-Oh! is an example of this, in contrast to his adoptive father. At least, until one mentions Duel Monster cards (until Yugi beats it out of him).
  • In the second part of Kyojin no Hoshi, both Mitsuru Hanagata and Chuuta Ban have grown into this through the Time Skip.

Comic Books

  • 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.
  • DC Universe:
  • 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.
    • It should be noted that, 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.

Film -- Animated

  • Sulley becomes one at the end of Monsters, Inc..
  • 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.

Film -- 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".
  • Like his comic book example above, the film-version of Tony Stark becomes this after returning from being kidnapped.
  • 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.
  • Mr. MacMillan in Big.
  • In Hotel Rwanda, the French hotel executive played by Jean Reno is horrified by what is going on and does everything he can to aid his employees.


  • 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.

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.
  • Oliver Queen on Smallville, in sharp contrast to Lionel Luthor, Lex Luthor, 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.

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.
  • Reeve Tuesti in Final Fantasy VII.
  • 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.
  • 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 genuinely believe in uplifting humanity, is deeply concerned with his employees, and he does compare much better to his adversaries, especially Zhao Yun Ru.
  • Lysandre from Pokemon X and Y was this at one point, until he snapped from his help being taken for granted and became a power mad fascist.
  • Hazuki Hirano from Shall We Date?: Ninja Shadow is a filthy rich man, but he's also honest and hardworking. He's among the very few unafraid of the Big Bad Suetsugu, and his son Yuzuki is one of the members of a Vigilante Man group that keeps the peace in Nagasaki. (And Hazuki supports him and the Vigilantes as much as possible)
  • Chizuru Kagura from The King of Fighters is not only a Miko and a Lady of War, but also a skilled and very rich businesswoman.

Web Original

  • Cassidy's parents in Grandmaster of Theft are this. Cassidy herself is one-in-training.
  • 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.

Western Animation

  • Again, Bruce Wayne aka Batman.
  • In 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.
  • Hiroshi Sato from The Legend of Korra became one of the richest men in Republic City from running a legitimate business. He's apparently passing on his ethics to his Spoiled Sweet daughter. Subverted in that he's not only an Equalist, but also because he framed his competitor, Cabbage Corp, making him abhorently immoral.
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