Max is well-loved by the people of Gotham City and his son, Chip, but nobody really knows his dark secrets, which range from killing his best friend and business partner, Fred Atkins, and flushing his body parts down the toilet; dumping toxic waste in the Gotham River; owning secret fire traps within Gotham; murdering his secretary Selina Kyle when she uncovered his evil plans; and presumably murdering his own wife.
On the outside, Max appears to be giving and caring, but in actuality, he's really aggressive and a big bully. He wants to build a large power plant which he says will be good for the city when, in reality, it would eventually suck the power dry from Gotham, leaving a fortune of money in his legacy.
Max was born into poverty, but fought his way to power through cunning and ruthlessness, developing criminal connections along the way. As such, like Penguin, he has a resentment of people, such as Bruce Wayne, who were born to wealth ("To the manor born with a silver spoon," as Max contemptuously refers to Bruce).
Max Shreck is a supervisor of his shopping mall, with his son Chip to take over. Shreck shows no gratitude or respect to his secretary Selina Kyle. After seeing Batman defeating the circus men wreaking havoc, Shreck falls down the trapdoor that leads to the Penguin's lair. Shreck ends up getting blackmailed by the Penguin into helping him become an important figure in Gotham, but Shreck manipulates the Penguin as much as the Penguin thinks he is manipulating him. When Shreck catches Kyle looking into his files and finding out his true nature, Shreck pushes her out of the window to keep her from exposing his secrets but little did Shreck know that Kyle survived and became Catwoman.
Shreck attempts to make Penguin the new Mayor of Gotham City in order to attract good publicity for himself and control Gotham through the Penguin, or "Oswald Cobblepot" as the Penguin called himself. If the Penguin becomes the mayor, he can approve of Shreck's power plant and since the original mayor disapproved it and the main reason why he is calling for a recall election. Max and Oswald appear to develop a strange kind of friendship.
Unfortunately, when Oswald's criminal enterprises are exposed, Max abandons him. Oswald flees back to the sewers, once more taking on the name "Penguin" and vowing revenge.
When Max gets cornered by Catwoman who plans to kill him as revenge for trying to kill her, Batman stops her and reveals himself and Catwoman does the same. But Kyle rejects Wayne's attempts to reason with her, Max shoots Batman (not knowing that he survived) and then shoots her several times, but to no avail, leaving her severely injured but not mortally wounded. Selina kisses him with an electric taser while she grabbed some exposed wires, electrocuting him and leaving a frazzled corpse behind.
Despite being a horrible person, Max loved his son as he willingly took Chip's place when the Penguin came for him. It's likely Chip takes over his father's business or not since Batman exposed all of Max's dealings and shutting down his operations and leave Chip with nothing.