WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Barack Obama imposed a $500,000 pay cap on some senior executives whose firms receive government financial rescue money, a dramatic intervention into corporate governance in the midst of financial crisis.

Standing with his Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, Obama said the United States doesn't disparage wealth nor does it begrudge those who succeed, but lavish bonuses for executives at companies seeking taxpayer dollars was unfair.

"What gets people upset - and rightfully so - are executives being rewarded for failure. Especially when those rewards are subsidized by U.S. taxpayers," the president said in the White House foyer.

The cap on executive pay would not apply to banks in good financial shape that receive federal assistance.