Cutting from the top…

Once again, it’s been awhile since I’ve handed out a gold star for something buried in the filings. Though I try to do it every Friday, it all depends on the filings. But earlier this week, Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) made some changes to its executive severance plan that are certainly worth noting, even though I poked at the company just 2 weeks ago for this hefty welcome package.

In Wednesday’s filing, HP says it is whacking the way it calculates severance benefits for several of its top executives. Instead of 2.5 times salary and target bonus, CEO Mark Hurd would get 2 times salary and the average bonus. Executive VPs shift from 2 times salary and target bonus to 1.5 times salary and average bonus and senior vps go from 1.5 times salary and target to 1 times salary and average bonus.

Of course, given the hefty cuts in body-count that HP plans to make in the coming year, it would look tacky (not to mention be bad PR) if the guys at the top didn’t feel some of that pain. But it’s still a welcome sign and certainly deserves a gold star.