Some Blue Chips Back Pay Limits

Several blue chip companies signed on to a plan to change their executive pay structure, possibly to placate lawmakers considering more severe restrictions, according to a Wall Street Journal report ($) Monday.

AT&T, Cisco, Hewlett-Packard and Tyco are among the corporations backing the Conference Board's proposal, which includes tying a "significant portion" of incentives to long-term success – such as offering shares of restricted stocks – instead of short-term rewards that could promote greater risk-taking, the report states.

The proposal would also eliminate "overly generous golden-parachute payments" and long-term employment contracts for executives.

The Obama administration has been looking for ways to rein in executive pay, which has been a sore spot in Washington after the government doled out billions of dollars to prop up a number of corporate giants. A White House-appointed pay czar is currently overseeing compensation at companies that have received significant federal aid.

There is also legislation moving through Congress that could tighten regulations further. The House has passed a bill requiring companies to give shareholders a nonbinding vote on executive pay and the White House is pushing for similar action out of Senate.

The Conference Board's plan does not include a so called "say on pay" provision, but the companies on board hope their voluntary support of its other aspects might keep further regulation at bay.