There is more information in this CBS news article:
Merrill Lynch boss John Thain spent $1 million decorating his office.There are a lot of lessons to be learned here for Americans. The English used to laugh at the "rustic" ways of Americans in the late 19th century and early 20th century. They they had their head handed to them by the upstart Americans. America in the late 20th century was at the top of the pecking order and "knew" that how it did things was the "best" in the world. But as Americans preen their ego, the rest of the world is passing them by. American business has hollowed out its own country and impoverished its own workers in a greedy rush to make top executives filthy rich. They have achieved their goal, but as a major said in Vietnam "we had to destroy this village to save it". Yeah, "saved" for what?
Haruka Nishimatsu, the president and CEO of Japan Air, knocked down his office walls so anyone can walk in.
He buys his suits at a discount store, because a boss who wears Armani puts himself at arm's length from his people.
"If management is distant, up in the clouds, people just wait for orders," Nishimatsu told CBS News through a translator. "I want my people to think for themselves."
As for the salary being less than he pays his pilots, I don't doubt this. What the news piece doesn't go into is "other kinds of remuneration", e.g. stock options. I know that Japan doesn't have the gap between top and bottom like the US but I doubt the top guy is making less than his pilots. But this kind of story is refreshing.
What I do know is that societies where the gap between the rich and the poor is as extreme as it is in the US are societies where the underclass is treated like dirt. You can see that in the US by going to any big city and watch the homeless wander around the streets. This is a very wealthy society, but it turns its back on so many of its own citizens. Shame.