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CHARLOTTE, NC (AP) — The Progress Energy chief executive whose sudden departure was announced hours after the merger creating America’s largest electric utility is getting a big payout.

Duke Energy reports to the US Securities and Exchange Commission that it’s paying former Progress Energy CEO Bill Johnson as much as $10.3 million. Johnson was supposed to become CEO of the combined company Tuesday, but resigned suddenly.

Johnson last week signed a three-year employment contract that was supposed to take effect Tuesday.

Duke said in the securities filing first reported by The Charlotte Observer that Johnson gets a severance payout of $7.4 million, 2012 bonus of $1.4 million, and a lump sum of up to $1.5 million.

Duke Energy CEO Jim Rogers will continue in that role as head of the expanded company.

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  • Guest 101

    That sounds pretty shady to me?? $10.3 million pay-out before the ink even dried. Good ole boy backdoor deal I say.

    If they can dole out that kind of money to a CEO who’s out why can’t they reduce our power bills a little bit?! What the heck did that fellow do to deserve that kind of $$$.

  • taxpayer

    you’re suffering from wealth envy. But then again, I suppose you have no problem with some football player being paid the same amount…or more…or an actor/actress being paid $20 Million for a movie.

    If you don’t like the executive compensation…purchase stock in the company, attend the annual stockholder meeting, and complain…loudly!

  • Peyton Garrett

    His reward for helping to enable a monopoly on a product that is essential to everyone. It is a public owned company with a board of directors and I guess they can award as they see fit but the timing is so suspect……you can’t make it up. The Justice Department should look into this as should the Fed. Trade Commission. Had he declared his plans to resign or retire before the merger it most likely would have held the merger up at the least and could have killed it all together. Ten Million is getting out cheap for such a conglomerate. The ethics of all involved,,,,,,,,questionable to say the least.

  • Vog46

    It sounds like Johnson signed a new contract but resigned under the OLD contract if I read this right.
    This raises some questions but not for any nefarious reasons.
    Could be he has found out his health is not good
    Could be the new severance was worse than the old contract called for.
    Could be he has found other employment.

    But no matter which was you slice and dice it this guy was under contract and the contract was approved by the Board of Directors. The amounts mentioned don’t seem too outrageous for a corporation of this size.

    Best Regards

  • Guest 101

    We’re not talking about a company that makes widgets here, power is something everybody has to use and Progress Energy has no competition.
    A $10 million “out the door” package is excessive to say the least and it smells to high heaven. The Utility Commision needs to look into this. There should be limits on golden parachutes for utility companies imo.

    Sounds like to me ole boy agreed to resign after the merger for X amount of money which is illegal (if it can be proven?)!

  • Commonsensenotcommontoday

    Of course, few people within Duke know what happened and the national business media has no idea what happened. As late as Monday, Duke was saying that Bill Johnson would be the CEO and were scheduling interview appointments for him. The possibility that the Duke BoD simply had this planned all along (now that he had fulfilled his duty as the Judas goat) is just as good as him deciding to avail himself of an entirely AVERAGE payout package.

    What you victims of wealth envy don’t seem to understand is that these payouts are negotiated and are legally binding terms of employment. Refuse to pay them and you can’t attract the talent you need.

    Duke’s market capitalization is now over $32 billion. They’ve committed $650 million in fuel savings costs to the customers. I wouldn’t bemoan $10 million dollars to a man who held positions of responsibility you whining saps can only dream of, and quite possibly got the royal heave-ho against his will.


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