Nov 29 Duke Energy Corp said on Thursday
that its chief executive would step down in 2013, and it
announced a settlement with North Carolina over the company's
leadership after it took over Progress Energy.
The dispute began when Duke Chief Executive Jim Rogers
assumed control of the combined company after the $18 billion
purchase closed in July, even though Bill Johnson of Progress
had long been slated to take the helm.
The North Carolina Utilities Commission (NCUC) held
hearings, and in August Rogers said that he had started
settlement talks with the regulator.
The parties, including North Carolina public staff and the
NCUC, agreed that the settlement announced on Thursday did not
represent an admission or acknowledgement of illegal or improper
acts by the company, Duke said in a statement.
In a separate statement released at the same time, Duke said
that Rogers, who has been CEO since 2006 and was the Cinergy CEO
for 11 years before it became part of Duke, will retire by the
end of 2013, when his employment contract expires.
The settlement announcement did not explicitly mention the
departure of Rogers, but it said that a special board committee
would be created to oversee selection of a successor to Rogers.
The committee will also help search for two new board
members, after a pair resigned in late July in protest against
the ousting of Johnson.
The purchase of Progress created the United States' largest
power utility, but the CEO decision sparked outrage in North
Carolina, the company's biggest market.
The settlement on Thursday must be approved by the NCUC,
which sets profit margins of power utilities in the state.
Other commitments by Duke in the settlement include
maintaining at least 1,000 employees in Raleigh, North Carolina,
and guaranteeing certain fuel and fuel-related cost savings for
customers in the state.
There are also some executive changes that include moving
Lloyd Yates, executive vice president for customer operations,
into the position of executive vice president for regulated
utilities, and appointing a new general counsel.
Duke will also need to retain the former general counsel of
Progress to advise it for two years on regulatory and
legislative matters in North Carolina, the company said.