L.A.'s highest-paid executives made an average of $5.8 million last year, with some of the region's top corporate chieftains pulling down far more than that much of it from stock options. The Business Journal asks:

Are you concerned that executives are making too much money?

John Buck

Director of Western Regional Sales

L.A. Convention and Visitors Bureau

There is some overkill, but you would have to look at the individual companies to determine that. There are some cases when elected officials join companies and make huge salaries. But I think those who work their hearts out to get where they are should be compensated.

Shelly Malmon

Vice President for Client Services

Polk Communications

There certainly is a disparity. The top executives make a gross amount of money while most people make less than $40,000 a year. However, these people are obviously doing something that allows their companies to pay them that much. It is a case of supply and demand. That's what is great about America. But I would also hope that the people who earn a lot will also give a lot.

Wendy Klein

Senior Manager

Roth, Bookstein & Zaslow LLP

I would probably say so. Workers are generally undervalued in comparison to executives. But I've had clients that have started companies and for the first few years have been under-compensated in relation to the amount of work they put into it. And years later, as their company grows, they can take it public and start to take money out of it. If you have an idea and have the capacity to see it through, I think you deserve to be compensated.

Stephen Carroll

Senior Economist

Rand Corp.

I don't think that the salaries of the top 3 percent of society makes too much difference to the rest of us. And I don't imagine there will be a revolution because a few people make $20 million a year. What I'm more concerned about is the huge income gap that has been growing for years between the top half and bottom half of society. If you are in the bottom half of society, the number of relatively high-paying jobs is disappearing.

Jeanne Damert

Assistant VP

Wells Fargo HSBC Trade Bank

It irritates me at times that some people seem to be making an enormous amount of money for what they do. There certainly should be a better balance. On the other hand, without these people and their dedication, we wouldn't be competitive.

Charles Swartz

Business Development Director

Andersen Consulting

My personal opinion is that it is desirable at profit-orientated companies that pay be tied to performance. The issue becomes, how do you calculate the value of performance? I think it is useful to look at the multiple between what executives get paid and what the people in the trenches make. But I don't believe in setting guidelines on those multiples like they do in Europe.

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