Jim Rogers: Duke lost confidence in ‘autocratic’ Progress CEO

Raleigh, N.C., July 11, 2012 — Duke Energy Corp’s board of directors lost confidence in Progress Energy CEO Bill Johnson in part because of his company’s financial performance and the management of its nuclear power business, Duke Chief Executive Jim Rogers told North Carolina regulators.

Rogers testified at a hearing called by the North Carolina Utilities Commission to look into Rogers’ replacement of Johnson following Duke‘s $18 billion takeover of Progress.

He said the board’s concerns also extended to Johnson’s management methods and the directors worried he would try to impose Progress’ culture on Duke.

The combined directors voted straight down company lines to replace Johnson with Rogers, with 10 former Duke directors outvoting five legacy Progress directors. Johnson and Rogers, both directors at the time, did not vote and one Progress director was absent.

Duke Energy has said this change in leadership plans was a mutual agreement.

The merger, completed July 3, was first announced in January 2011, and creates one of the largest utilities in the U.S. with 7.1 million customers.

The new company, known as Duke Energy, will control assets in North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio from its headquarters in Charlotte, N.C. The utility will own or control about 57,000 MW in generation capacity.

The new Duke Energy has about $49 billion in market capitalization, total assets of more than $100 billion. The regulated utilities will comprise a higher proportion of Duke Energy’s post-merger business mix.

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