They pay your wages and run your local shops. Their shares might feature in your pension fund or belong to you as a taxpayer. As the London-based City Editor, I keep an eye on the companies that dominate our economic life and the men and women who run them.
The scale of mammoth pay packages in the banking industry was underlined when Barclays revealed that 428 of its workers were paid more than £1m last year, including five who got more than £5m despite a year of scandal and falling profits.
RBS has already been criticised for handing out £607m in bonuses in 2012 as it reported £5.2bn in annual losses.