While it’s behind a paywall, there’s a very good Pando article about Mark Zuckerberg’s return from paternity leave. It touches on a lot of good points: it’s important that Zuckerberg took leave, is Zuckerberg getting ‘extra credit’ because he’s a man, and so on. But there was something else in the article that was very interesting (boldface mine):
Facebook is a large company with many managers. If the CEO stepping away for two months would have much impact at all, shareholders would have a far bigger key-man concern….
The fact that the company performed so well in a horrific year during that leave hopefully silences the lone critics who said it was irresponsible.
There’s no doubt Zuckerberg massively increased the wealth of Facebook (essentially starting from zero). But at this point, a significant amount of the wealth creation at Facebook is coming from many other people, yet Zuckerberg is still getting a lion’s share of the wealth the company generates. After all, he was basically gone, and the company didn’t just survive, it did very well.
In other words, much of his current wealth generation results from past work: to a considerable extent, he is currently getting paid for past performance. When people much farther down on the totem pole do the same thing–seniority rules–this is seen as a horrible thing. But for CEOs, not so much, I suppose.