Most Zone Leaders are democratically elected, and they tend to distinguish their office with a mayoral-style medallion. Known exceptions to the democratic model include the Coal Creek Zone, where the Zone Leader is a military dictator ruling by force; the Hill Top Zone, which retains its traditional aristocracy and nobility; and the Chemical Plant Zone, a corporate canton with the Marxio Brothers as its executive directors.
Known Zone Leaders
- Knuckles the Echidna is leader of all Zones on the Floating Island, although the only other inhabitants are Porker Lewis and Tikal. When the Emerald Hill folk lived in the Mushroom Hill Zone, they deferred to Knuckles' authority.
- Robotnik currently rules an unknown number of zones, conquering them by force of arms. Zones he's ruled include the Rail Canyon Zone (until destroyed), Sand Ocean Zone, Jungle Joyride Zone, and Odour Zone (later liberated).
- Steve Owl - former leader of the Hidden Zone before the idea of Zone Leaders was implemented. Now a member of the Emerald Hill folk.
- A gull from the Jade Hill Zone.
- Another bird in the Greenfield Zone.
- Basil Poultry - Despite going insane from the pressures of Christmas, he remained leader of the Tower Hill Zone.
- A boar from the Timber Village Zone.
- Sharka Khan - no longer the ruler of Trituna when he was discovered to be fleeing from danger by his followers. They decided to rule in a coalition between them, despite Sonic's worries about how well that will work.
- The walrus Zone Leader of Woodzone was revealed to be corrupt and under employ of Grimer so was arrested.
- Don Long-Legs, with Max Gamble and others as his fronts, appears to be a de facto Zone Leader for the Casino Night Zone because of the power of the Family. It's unknown who the nominal Zone Leader is.
- Nack the Weasel - militaristic leader of the Coal Creek Zone and the Diamond Fjord Zone. The zones used to be ruled by a War Council, who had conquered Diamond Fjord for its resources; Nack pretends to be a liberator.
- The vole leader of the Ocean Falls Zone (with Nack eyeing him with hungry eyes).
- The Jungle Joyride Zone has a king. He was forced to flee when Robotnik overran the zone.
- Bucky O'Bear was the Zone Leader for the Moonshine Plains Zone, and ran against Hick Monkey in an election.
- A shark from the Seaside Hill Zone.