Shareholders of

Hewlett-Packard

(HPQ) - Get Report

, reacting against the

$26 million severance package awarded to former President Michael Capellas, approved a reform measure aiming to rein in such benefits.

Investors backed a proposal urging H-P's board of directors to seek their approval for any severance package worth more than 2.99 times a senior executive's base salary plus bonus.

The resolution is nonbinding. H-P's board, which had opposed the measure, said today it will consider the recommendation.

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The vote was unusually close: Though H-P announced the

results of its other shareowner proposals at its annual meeting, the company took two more days to tabulate the results for the severance measure.

The reform measure's ultimate approval highlights a growing restiveness among shareholders, who have traditionally voted in line with the position of corporate boards.

This year, however, unions and pension funds are pushing unusually hard for corporate governance reforms, homing in on excessive executive compensation.

Earlier this spring, investors at

Tyco

(TYC)

too passed a nonbinding shareowner measure to make severance packages subject to their approval.