By Braden Reddall
Nov 29 Duke Energy Corp's chief
executive will step down at the end of 2013 as part of a
settlement with North Carolina regulators over the utility's
leadership after it took over Progress Energy.
The dispute began when Duke CEO 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 of what became the largest U.S. power utility.
The CEO decision sparked outrage in North Carolina, the
company's biggest market, and the North Carolina Utilities
Commission (NCUC) started holding hearings on the change just a
week after the deal closed. Rogers then started settlement talks
with the regulator in August.
"With his consent and in order to assist with the resolution
of these matters, Mr. Rogers has chosen to retire on December
31, 2013, as he originally planned," said the settlement
document, posted online by the NCUC on Thursday.
The parties agreed that the settlement did not represent an
admission or acknowledgement of illegal or improper acts by the
Rogers has been Duke's CEO since 2006, and had been the CEO
of Cinergy for 11 years before it became part of Duke. Duke said
his retirement would coincide with the expiry of his employment
As part of the settlement, a board committee would be
created to oversee selection of a successor to Rogers and help
search for two new board members, after a pair resigned in late
July in protest against the ousting of Johnson.
The CEO search committee would make its "best efforts" to
have a recommendation for a new boss by July 1, 2013, and not
later than the end of 2013, said the settlement document.
The settlement must be approved in full by the NCUC, which
sets profit margins of power utilities in the state.
Other commitments by Duke include maintaining at least 1,000
employees in Raleigh, North Carolina, for at least five years,
as well as 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 naming a new general counsel by the end of 2012.
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.