Compensation is often justified at the executive level by commensurate level of responsibility. If we are to accept that words mean things, then "responsibility" means responsibility. Personnel can be considered to be under duress (of job loss, economic hardship) if they dissent.
Criminal behavior is criminal behavior - if other crimes are punished consistently then if we believe that we have an impartial justice system one group of criminals should not get special treatment just because of the variety of crime they choose to perpetrate. All criminal should be punished.
If we as a society are operating under the theory that the corporate entity is the party at fault rather than a particular person (e.g. Mitt Romney saying "corporations are people my friend" in regards to citizens united) then it's the corporation who should be held responsible, not its execs.
This posited statement needs to be fleshed out. Corporate leaders may have well projected information that some giant project or newly marketed item may result in some limited number of deaths. Large construction project, new drug. But the benefit for everyone else makes those losses acceptable.