Yes, but... First of all, the stock the CEO is working for may become worthless due to irresponsible investor behavior. This has happened innumerable times; thus the CEO working for pennies is incurring huge albeit hidden risk. Secondly, the CEO may have a family to support, which argues for a reasonable income while putting in the inevitable 80+ hours per week, week after week, indefinitely. Thirdly, let's not forget that VCs are paying themselves salaries of millions per year plus a percentage of their 20% carry, so for them the game is a no-lose proposition. They're gambling with other people's money but raking in a boatload of cash at the same time. Arguing that the CEO should skirt penury while VCs enjoy risk-free million-dollar salaries is a rather dubious proposition. One last fun fact: I’ve seen, on several occasions, VCs step in to replace the founding CEO and appoint a new CEO. Who is then paid at least twice what the ousted leader was receiving, not to mention a boat-load of new restricted shares. Seems the money can be found when it’s needed…

Anyone who enjoys my articles here on Medium may be interested in my books Why Democracy Failed and The Praying Ape, both available from Amazon.