Doing quite well, yes, but that's in comparison to quite dismal lows. CBS stock is trading at about $16 a share, quadruple its recessionary nadir last year but well off its peak in 2007 of above $30 a share.
There also is the benefit of longevity.
"A lot of these guys have been around for years and they helped establish their companies, like Moonves, Murdoch and Barry Diller," said Boyd. "For them, it is probably easier to make the case that they should have a certain pay because they have played such an important role."
However, Corporate Library, an independent corporate governance research firm based in Portland, Maine, pointed out that company founders and other "executive chairmen" can take advantage of their influence. "Many executive chairs have no operational role within their companies but are paid like high-level executives," a recent report by the firm found. It said Sumner Redstone, who is executive chairman of both CBS and Viacom Inc., was one of the highest paid.
Last year, Redstone, who turns 87 this month, received $33.1 million as chairman of his two companies. He spends much of his time at his estate perched above Beverly Hills with his long-haired dachshunds.