KSI Vince Ellerbee
Vincent Ellerbee is the nominal head of the Initiative for most of the novel.
Ellerbee is not a pleasant man. While not overtly hostile, he has a way about him of dictating everything. One does not so much have a conversation with him as recieve orders. Karigo consideres him a forceful and effective administrator. But he is smart and very fastidious, he didn't rise through the corporate ranks easily.
Ellerbee was born into money, yet still had a not terribly pleasant childhood. His father expected him to "make something of himself", and only cared about the bottom line. This taught Vince early-on the value of cheating: his father didn't care how he got the grades, so long as they were the highest. If that meant cheating and sabotaging other students, so be it. In one particular incident, he actually poisoned another boy at his boarding school so that he'd miss the final exam.
In another, slightly higher-profile incident, Vince stole twelve thousand dollars from the student body treasury. His motives were never made clear; he certainly didn't need the money. It all came down to access: as student body president, he had the account numbers. While it was very clear that he did it, the money was never actually recovered. Vince gave various conflicting explanations: he needed to pay off a loan shark over a school basketball game he had failed to fix, he wanted to invest the money in a stock shorting scheme to make more of it, he'd given it to charity; the list went on and on. His cacophony of lies and some championship string-pulling by dad kept the whole incident under wraps, and Vince had no trouble being accepted to Harvard the following year. The entire incident, along with the poisoning, both of which generated police records and actual charges, were sealed the day he turned eighteen.
At Harvard Buisness School, Vince applied himself more to making contacts than to his studies. The same pattern of cheating that had gotten him through high-school continued, but it also became clear that he was, on the whole, rather brilliant. Extensive safeguards kept students from cheating on exams, and so far as anyone could tell, Vince never once even attempted it. He still aced every test, doing little to none of the course work on his own.
The time he saved not studying was spent making contacts, meeting the sons and daughters of other well-to-do citizens, and securing summer internships with large companies. Every internship recalled him as "a dedicated, hard-working, and thorough young man". Upon completing his Master's in Buisness, Vince went to work immediately for Karigo's corporate offices.
His career at Karigo was marred by scandal, but ultimately impressive. He was cited repeatedly for mis-use of corporate funds and property, but was also consistently one of the best-performing executives. This helped him climb the corporate ladder with relative ease, all the while embezzling millions of dollars along the way. He'd let himself 'get caught' for something minor, like using a company credit card to hire escorts, and use it to distract from more serious indiscretions.
Vince treated the entire Karigo Space Initiative like his own giant, personal piggy-bank. Being given primary authority over the project allowed him to skim money everywhere, diverting it to shell corporations and personal accounts. The clandestine anture of the operation even allowed him to launder his ill-gotten gains.
During his carrier working for Karigo, Ellerbee had miss-appropriated $326 million. While working on the Initiative, he stole another $1.8 Billion, about 5% of the project's over-all budget.