Posted on July 3, 2012 at 8:45 AM
Tuesday, Jul 3 at 11:01 AM
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Duke Energy said Tuesday it has completed its $32 billion merger with Progress Energy – but not with Progress CEO Bill Johnson as its chief executive.
The closing was effective Monday.
The new, 18-member board of directors voted to name Duke CEO Jim Rogers, 64, as president and chief executive of the new Duke, which will be the nation’s largest electric utility. He’ll also be chairman.
Rogers had been expected to become executive chairman of the company, focusing on strategy and external affairs.
Johnson, 58, has resigned as president and CEO of the combined company “by mutual agreement,” Duke said in a news release. Johnson would have been responsible for day-to-day operations of the company, including the task of combining two workforces into one.
Johnson, an attorney who represented utilities in private practice, joined Progress in 1992. He’s served in a number of roles, including general counsel, and was named its chairman and CEO in 2007.
A Duke spokesman would not elaborate on the move, but said executives would have a conference call with investment analysts at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday.
Johnson had said less than two weeks ago that he was shopping for a house in Charlotte and planned to be at his new desk in Charlotte on Monday.
“Having served as CEO of Duke and its predecessor companies for more than 23 years, Jim Rogers is well-suited to lead the integration effort and to drive our combined businesses forward,” said Ann Maynard Gray, lead director of Duke’s board. “The board of directors looks forward to working with Jim and the rest of the executive team to enhance our position as a utility with financial strength and a greater ability to meet the needs of our customers.”
She added: “Bill Johnson has been instrumental in helping us close the merger with Progress Energy, and we wish him well in his future endeavors.”
Duke won federal approval for the merger on June 8, based on a number of conditions it accepted. North Carolina’s Utilities Commission voted in favor on Friday, and South Carolina’s Public Service Commission approved an agreement to jointly operate power plants on Monday.
The new Duke will be based in Charlotte and will serve 7.1 million customers in the Carolinas, Florida, Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana. It now employs 29,250 but will trim 1,860 redundant jobs.
The Carolinas utilities will continue to operate separately, under the same corporate ownership, for a few years.
Customers in the Carolinas were guaranteed $650 million in savings, mostly from more efficient use of fuel, over five to six years after the merger. The savings will only partly offset expected rate increases that Duke is expected to seek this summer and Progress this fall.