My instinct suggest it’s a little bit unfair to have some person hold:
1) Absolute power and leadership over the company
2) Claim the highest salary
3) Get all the publicity opportunities

Not that the CEO should be LOW paid. But do you think that if you want to supreme leader, you should let other people claim greater financial rewards (amongst other things).

Clarification added June 12, 2008:

Two million could be the “lowest” salary in the room of course :).

John Taylor

Independent Internet Professional

Compensation is subjective. They shouldn’t neccessarily get what they deserve, they should get what they’re able to negotiate. Publicity, power and where the position places a candidate on their overall career path will have a different value to different people. In a lot of cases, that power and visibility is *why* they get more money. They’re the face of the company and have an enormous impact on public perception, even if they have less *real* power than the board. They’re also the target if anything goes wrong in the company.

The negotiation process should place the compensation at a level where the CEO and the Board are both happy or, at least, comfortable. Value is subjective. While the salaries may seem out of whack to the general public, they’re obviously worth it to the board (at least when the CEO is hired).