Ousted Duke Energy CEO Earns Up to $44.4 Million for a Few Hours of WorkWhen Duke Energy bought out Progress Energy on Monday, it formed a utility company of colossal proportions, which will provide power to more than 7 million Americans. And a whopping company means a whopping CEO compensation package -- even if that CEO is no longer the CEO. Bill Johnson resigned after just hours at the helm of the new firm, reports The Wall Street Journal, and walked away with a severance package that could be worth up to $44.4 million.

Johnson had been the CEO of Progress Energy, and 18 months ago, it was announced that as soon as the merger closed, he would become the new CEO of the largest electric company in the country. But just after midnight Monday night, Johnson stepped down "by mutual agreement" with the board, according to the Associated Press, which handed the reins of the $32 billion company back to former Duke Energy CEO Jim Rogers.

The new Duke board, which is two-thirds old Duke directors, made the decision after an executive session in which they came to the conclusion that Rogers, who had run the larger company, and was more of a "consensus builder," according to WSJ, was better-suited to the job.

A source close to the situation told WSJ that Johnson was surprised by the switcheroo, and had actually rented a house in Charlotte, N.C., where the new company is headquartered, although he hadn't yet moved in.

The shady maneuver outraged former Progress Energy board members like Alfred Tollison Jr., who told AP that the plan must have been secretly in the works for months.

"I do not believe that a single director of Progress would have voted for this transaction as structured with the knowledge that the CEO of Duke, Jim Rogers, would remain as the CEO of the combined company," former board member John Mullin III told WSJ.

"In my opinion this is the most blatant example of corporate deceit that I have witnessed during a long career on Wall Street," he continued in a letter shared with The News & Observer, "and as a director of ten publicly traded companies and as a former Trustee of Putnam's numerous mutual funds."

The move also befuddled The North Carolina Utilities Commission, which approved the merger last week with the understanding that Johnson would have the corner office. Its now considering an investigation. Standard & Poor's Financial Services has also warned Duke its become suspicious of its stability, and has placed the company on a watch list for a credit downgrade.

Duke spokesman Tom Williams told AP that the company looks forward to resolving these concerns.

And Johnson's hefty parting gift has upset pretty much everyone who has heard about it. He'll receive a $7.4 million severance, an almost $1.4 million cash bonus, a special lump-sum of up to $1.5 million, for the $10.3 million total that was earlier reported by various media outlets. In addition, he's getting an accelerated vesting of stock awards that could boost his total payout up to $44.4 million, according to Duke, and reported by WSJ. In just a few days, Johnson grossed more than the average American would earn in 27 lifetimes. And, of course, Duke will reimburse Johnson for his relocation expenses, which add up to $30,000 -- just slightly above the average income of a working American.

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Another AOL/HuffPuff dummy.

Only a dumb AOL commie would try to twist this story into too much money to a "rich" guy!

"Pretty much everybody who has heard about" the "gift" is "upset" about it?? DUMMY!!! No one cares if you are "upset" because you "heard" about it! No one cares if your lefty ignorant friends are "upset"! Its none of your business anyway. And you are too STUPID to begin to understand what occurred!

AOL/HuffPuff continues to publish Obama-propaganda for Obama-dolts by dopey self-righteous DUMMIES!

July 10 2012 at 5:23 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Must be an Obami major contributor.

July 09 2012 at 11:47 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

What a pile of used coal and horse .... This is another example of the out of control compensation of big business, sports,and government. Those in powerful positions in business, sports figures and unregulated local, state, and federal positions like water boards, school management, village governments, and state and federal legislators, continue to manipulate pay, benefits, pensions, stock options, and golden parachutes, which in turn is paid for by everyone, which basically means the middle income wage earner, through higher taxes, extreme ticket prices, prices at the cash register and basic utility bills.

Some time spend a day looking at all your bills, they are all loaded with local, state and federal taxes. It is not the income taxes that are killing the average person, it is all the added on tax. Then a constant increase in price for everything to cover the run away pay and benefits.

Those that have, continue to manipulate their gains and convince others that the problem is with the unions, public employees, and retirees. The growing disparity within OUR class system will eventually hurt the 99%.
At least in a dictatorship you easily can tell the bad guy.

July 09 2012 at 10:26 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply


July 09 2012 at 8:52 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

anyone out HERE FAMILIAR WITH the dumbocwaPPic underground/kos etc ?
you really should GET ACQUAINTED with these sites and THEN YOU'LL UNDERSTAND not only WHAT WE ARE DEALING WITH
the differences BETWEEN A CONSTITUTIONAL CONSERVATIVE and these submental morons.

don't be afraid of soiling your computer---go and take a tour.
DON'T BOTHER signing uP to POST A DIFFERENCE OF OPINION BASED ON FACTS as they're worse than huffing_ho and will ban you.

July 08 2012 at 10:19 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

sloooooow weekend over here but on huffington_whoredom there is a spot for voter ID requirement exploding the heads on bLaaaaaaaaaaack voiCEs-
why haven't they WOKEN UP YET and seen where the obomBAnation is not taking THEM but DUMPING THEM ?
as it always was--it's ALL ABOUT THE LATINOS.
man have THEY been played.

anymore fainting over him ?

July 08 2012 at 1:48 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Setanta's comment

""called a SLUT ON THE AIR !"" is their lead in link---
if anyone HEARD THIS COW's so called SWORN ???? testimony you'd call her THAT and MORE.

now WHY are THEY bringing HER BACK OUT ?
guess all that hot air /verbage and rectal gases of boycotts were JUST THAT .

bunch of losers.

July 08 2012 at 7:21 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
Ray Scarth

Don't worry the electrical consumers will pick up the tab, by paying higher rates. The merger just made them the biggest power supplier in the USA, which, in electrical supply, means monopoly!

July 08 2012 at 10:00 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Ray Scarth's comment

don't worry as those windmills and solar panels will put them outta business/sarc,

July 08 2012 at 1:52 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

Absolute power corrupts power? There is a hot wire dangling near the fish pond.

July 08 2012 at 8:41 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Sandra Hyvare

Another corrupt sleaze who will be up against the wall in the coming revolution. In the words of Samuel Adams, “If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquillity of servitude than the animating contest of freedom, — go from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains sit lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen!”

July 07 2012 at 11:33 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Sandra Hyvare's comment

everything and YES EVERYTHING goes through and gets sifted and filtered that's WHY the big freeeekin predicted EMP.........would truly be a tragedy !!!!!!!!! mygawd WHO'd be watching over US then ????

July 08 2012 at 2:12 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

Why did Progress Energy want to lower our bill and now Duke needs to increase it? They asked the commission for a rate hike....Was anyone paid off for this merger to happen? Duke looking at credit downgrade.

Progress Energy did not need the merger, Duke Energy did....

Think about these issues..........

July 07 2012 at 8:28 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to KKiegiel's comment

and PLEASE don't forget to add in the INFLATION ASPECT AS WELL.
dollar's worth diddly.

July 08 2012 at 2:13 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply