Alexander Pierce was one of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s top-ranking government officials whose personal view of world peace led him to become seduced by the dark side of the organization, HYDRA, and join them as a counter-intelligence operative in league with the rejuvenated veterans Wolfgang von Strucker and Daniel Whitehall, though he was initially unaware of their true goal to eventually revive their Inhuman master from the Negaverse. He eventually rose to ranks of World Security Council member and Nick Fury's commanding officer due to his many years of loyal service to both sides of the organization, following the public resignation of his old friend Gideon Malick. As Project Insight drew to completion, Pierce had ordered Fury to be killed as he was getting too close to the truth. Pierce thought he had succeeded and moved on, later blaming Captain America for Fury's death. Pierce later commissioned the Winter Soldier to kill Captain America. On the day of Project Insight's activation, the plan was later stopped and Pierce was killed by Fury.
Pierce had, at one point, been the mentor to Norman Osborn, helping him get into politics to further both of their agendas for future planning. It was Pierce's ideals on diplomacy which led Osborn to form HAMMER following S.H.I.E.L.D.'s initial dissolution and folding into the New Avengers Program. Pierce's son, Anthony Durami Pierce, would later join S.H.I.E.L.D. 2.0 to redeem his family name from the atrocities committed by his father, becoming a cyborg in the process.