News Column

Duke CEO Rogers to Retire Under Merger Settlement

Nov. 29, 2012

Bruce Henderson, The Charlotte Observer

Duke Energy CEO Jim Rogers will retire at the end of 2013 as part of a proposed settlement of the state investigation of Duke's merger with Progress Energy.

The agreement among Duke, the staff of the N.C. Utilities Commission and the commission's Public Staff, will go before the commission for approval on Monday.

The commission's investigation focused on whether Duke misled the panel in abruptly dismissing former Progress chief Bill Johnson to lead the combined companies, now the nation's largest utility.

Resolving it would remove a regulatory cloud that has hung over the $32 billion merger since its closing July 2. North Carolina is the largest of Duke's six states in customer numbers, and Duke is seeking one rate increase by the commission and will ask for another early next year.

Rogers, 64, has been Duke's chief executive since a 2006 merger with Ohio-based Cinergy, which Rogers also led. He is under contract with Duke through 2013.

Under the agreement, Duke does not admit to "illegal or improper acts."

It does agree to:

--Make personnel changes, including moving former Progress executive Lloyd Yates, now with Duke, to executive vice president of regulated utilities. Duke would also name a new general counsel and retain former Progress general counsel John McArthur, who resigned after Johnson was fired, as an advisor for two years.

--Create a committee to look for Rogers' replacement and search for two new board members to replace former Progress directors who resigned.

--Defer the Duke Energy Carolinas rate request, initially expected to come this year, until February.

--Maintain at least 1,000 employees in Raleigh, the former headquarters of Progress.

--Guarantee another $25 million in fuel-related cost savings to N.C. customers. Duke previously committed to sharing at least $650 million in post-merger savings with Carolinas customers.

--Contribute an additional $5 million to N.C. workforce development and low-income assistance in North Carolina.

Source: (c)2012 The Charlotte Observer (Charlotte, N.C.) Distributed by MCT Information Services

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