I think Roxxon like Hammer make perfect enemies of Stark.
They are the dark side and truthfully more realistic real-world evil empires as opposed to Starks empire of companies being of the most noble bent.
Now I know Mandarin would say this is boring and all corporate intrigue...but if you present it more like empires and delve deeply into the people it affects and so on I see some great stories that could be told. Don't focus on all the board meetings...focus on the destruction and world dominating plots of Roxxon and Hammer...and Tony fighting them behind the scenes or in the public light with his technical genius + his corporate assets which include a star supporting cast like Dave and Bob had for us.
You misunderstand me. I don't object to corporate villains. I object to Stark being emphasized as a businessman when he should be an inventor who happens to own a business. And I object to Stark defending money rather than defending people. Stark's superpower should not be money. What Stark defends should not primarily be money.
I also like the idea of Pepper as a brilliant businesswoman. In my opinion, Pepper should be boring to the point of caricature. She should be so boring that it crosses the line twice into being funny. She should be the goddess of business graphs and business law. That way her and Stark make this team with great chemistry: Stark the wildly creative inventor with a Nutty Professor/Sherlock combo vibe to him, and Pepper the solid businesswoman trying to reign him in.
I have no problem with corporate villains. In fact, I think most of Stark's villains should be much richer than he is, and own far more corporate assets.