Shelby Forthright was the CEO of the megacorporation Buy n Large in the early 22nd century. Under his lead, he pushed his company to expand its efforts in making humanity's world easier, more comfortable and pleasant. However, with its advancements in technology, the corporation caused garbage problems to amass due to consumerism facilitating the corporation. In 2105, Forthright came up with a plan to evacuate Earth, as it was too choked with trash. He also proposed Operation Recolonize, in which trash compactor robots and mobile incinerators would clean up the Earth while humanity stayed aboard starships like the Axiom. However, after a few years, an exhausted and disappointed Forthright was convinced that the operation had failed. He felt that the air was too toxic to supply life on Earth, so he decided to cancel the operation and let mankind live in space forever.
He ordered all planet bound machines turned off (though one was missed), and secretly sent Directive A-113 to all AUTO units without informing the other BnL pilots. After the evacuation of Earth, Shelby Forthright's fate is left unknown though it is implied that he left aboard a ship to join the citizens in space, since he is heard saying, "Let's get the heck outta here" when he puts on an oxygen anti-toxic mask before walking off.
- Forthright is long deceased by the time WALL•E began, as it had been 700 years since he had ordered the pilots to stay in space.
- He is one of the first live-action characters to appear in a Pixar film. Director Andrew Stanton shot Fred Willard's scenes personally and described Forthright as "[a] lovable car salesman."
- His name is a play on the phrase "shall be forthright".