Duke Energy's chief executive officer says the newly merged North Carolina utility company ousted Bill Johnson as CEO because of his management style.
Jim Rogers, testifying Tuesday at a hearing in Raleigh before the North Carolina Utilities Commission, said the board made the decision to oust Johnson hours after a merger last week between Duke, based in Charlotte, and Progress Energy Inc., based in Raleigh, The Wall Street Journal reported.
Johnson, the Progress CEO, was supposed to lead the merged utility while Rogers served as executive chairman. However, Johnson was asked on his first day to resign and complied, collecting an exit package reported to be worth $44 million.
The utilities commission Tuesday asked Rogers to explain why the abrupt change was made.
Rogers said the board did not feel Johnson's' management style "was appropriate or transferable to leadership of the combined company." Rogers said the board was concerned about Progress' Crystal River nuclear plant in Florida, which has been closed since 2009 after damage to its containment dome was discovered.
He said there was also concern about three of the company's other five plants.
"Our board was so deeply concerned with the inability of Progress to improve the operations of these plants," Rogers said.
Duke Energy is the largest electric power holding company in the United States, serving approximately 7.1 million electric customers located in six states in the Southeast and Midwest.