Why Are CEOs Paid So Much?

Elan Journo, writing for ARI’s MediaLink, provides excellent answers to the question, “Are America’s CEOs paid more than they deserve?

To successfully steer a corporation across the span of years by integrating its strengths toward the goal of creating wealth, requires from the CEO exceptional thought and judgment. Excellent CEOs are as rare as MLB-caliber pitchers or NFL-caliber quarterbacks. And in the business world, every day is the Super Bowl. There is no off-season or respite from the need to perform at one’s peak.
Given the effect a CEO can have on a company’s success, we can understand why their compensation packages can be so high. One way employers reward excellence is through bonuses. For many CEOs, bonuses amount to a large portion of their earnings. Some CEOs are paid a token salary, but are rewarded with large parcels of company stock; last year, for instance, the CEO of Apple Computer, Steve Jobs, earned $1 in salary and received stock valued at $75 million. As is the case with athletes and other individuals whose talents are rare and much prized, the CEO’s pay package is calculated with an eye on the competition. Companies pay millions of dollars to a valuable CEO, one who they judge will produce wealth for the shareholders, in part so he will not be hired away by a competitor.

See his full editorial for further illumination.