According to the FT, US CEO compensation as a multiple of average workers' pay went up from 25x in 1975 to a range of 200-300 in 2000-2007.
Things are less extreme in Germany: Assuming CEO pay packets of 1-3 m € for most large companies, and an average "workers salary" of maybe 50,000 €, that would put the multiple at 20-60.
In my humble opinion, anybody who requires annual compensation of several million Euros to be motivated to do a good job isn't the right person for a CEO position.
A CEO should be motivated by other things than just money, and surely 1 m € or so is sufficient financial reward.
Anyway, it will be interesting to see how CEO pay develops as the crisis unfolds...