The North Carolina Utilities Commission made their displeasure known Tuesday at Duke Energy’s sudden decision last week to oust Bill Johnson as president and chief executive, just hours after its merger with Progress Energy was finalized.
Duke Chief Executive Jim Rogers did his best to ease the concerns of state regulators noting that Duke’s board of directors had begun to lose confidence in Johnson in the weeks leading up to the merger, but had not officially decided to replace him at the helm of the combined company.
Commissioner Bryan Beatty pointedly asked Rogers why none of this had been raised with the Utilities Commission before the merger was green-lighted.
Rogers said his board was focused on the benefits of the deal, and did not believe the state regulators could stipulate who would act as the CEO of the utility:
“It is solely within the discretion of a corporation to determine who is in what position in a corporation,” explained Rogers. “There is no precedent where any state commission has ordered that a certain person be in a certain position.”
The state Utilities Commission does have the power to rescind its decision approving the merger. But no decision was made Tuesday.
Commission Chairman Ed Finley said it was clear that both sides would have to work on rebuilding a level of trust moving forward.
To watch some of the highlights of the four-hour hearing, click below: