Duke Energy (DUK) Top Dog Jim Rogers To Step Down As Part of Regulatory Settlement

Duke Energy Corporation (NYSE:DUK) Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Jim Rogers will step down by the end of 2013. It is a part of a settlement with the North Carolina utilities regulator over the unexpected firing of its new chief executive within hours after a large acquisition in July that had been approved by that regulator, the North Carolina Utilities Commission (NCUC), just a few days prior.

The Commissioners accused Duke of misleading them with the CEO switch, and has been reviewing the matter ever since.

Besides the forced retirement of Rogers; the settlement requires Duke to hire a new chief counsel (John McArthur who was general counsel of the acquired company), appoint a former executive of the acquired company (Lloyd Yates) as executive vice president for regulated utilities, provide specified cost savings to customers, increase its contribution to workforce development and low-income assistance, and maintain a minimum workforce in Raleigh NC (the headquarters of the acquired company), among other things.

This settlement does not affect a separate investigation by the North Carolina Attorney General’s Office.

Bill Johnson, the ousted CEO has landed on his feet. He is now chief executive of the Tennessee Valley Authority.

Since 1988, Rogers has served as the CEO of various utility companies, and was appointed as the president and CEO of Duke Energy after the merger between Duke and Cinergy in 2006. Over his career, he produced one of the best average annual shareholder returns in the industry.

“This settlement agreement is an important step forward for the company because it resolves one of our key near-term priorities: bringing closure to the NCUC merger review process,” Rogers, who serves as both chairman and CEO, said in a statement released after the close of trading in New York yesterday.

In the words of the company, which is the largest U.S. utility company by market value: “Duke Energy is the largest electric power holding company in the United States with more than $100 billion in total assets. Its regulated utility operations serve approximately 7.1 million electric customers located in six states in the Southeast and Midwest. Its commercial power and international business segments own and operate diverse power generation assets in North America and Latin America, including a growing portfolio of renewable energy assets in the United States.”

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