We've discussed here how misalignments can occur between CEO and shareholder interests. In fact, as we saw here, this misalignment may have contributed to the fiasco formerly known as Lehman Brothers. Before investing in a company, it's a shareholder's responsibility to ensure management's pay structure makes sense. For example, if stock options make up a huge part of a CEO's pay, be aware that management has incentives to take big risks to generate big paydays.
Disclosure of the salary, bonuses and compensation structure of the five top executives are an SEC requirement for all public companies in each company's annual proxy statement. As an investor, you can find this info for any US stock you own as follows:
1) Go to the EDGAR Company Search page
2) Enter the ticker symbol of your company and hit 'Find Companies'
3) Search for the latest filing called "DEF 14A"(this is the annual proxy statement)
4) Open that file, for all sorts of goodies about executive compensation
In there, you'll also find a discussion about how the pay/bonus and compensation structure was determined, including some company peer groups that were used as comparisons by the Compensation Committee.