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Former Progress CEO tells of Duke’s desire to end merger (video)

Bill Johnson, the former CEO of Progress Energy, told the state’s Utilities Commission Thursday his management style had nothing to do with his sudden and unexpected departure from Duke Energy earlier this month.

Johnson, who was expected to lead the newly combined energy company, said as the two sides worked to meet the requirements set forth by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to complete this merger, working relationships began to deteriorate.

“I believe then and I believe now, that they [Duke] explored every avenue to get out of this merger, “said Johnson.

Last week, Duke Chief Executive Jim Rogers told a much different story. Rogers said Duke’s board of directors had lost confidence in Johnson in the weeks leading up to the merger, describing Johnson’s leadership style as “autocratic.”

Johnson defended his reputation repeatedly during Thursday’s hearing, and said from his point of view the most important thing was to meet the deadline to complete the merger. And despite the friction, Johnson believes the combined utilities will be good for consumers.

Testimony will continue Friday with two Duke Energy board members before the state commission.

To hear a portion of Johnson’s testimony, click below:

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One Comment

  1. Frank Burns

    July 20, 2012 at 12:20 pm

    Somebody better tell James that he was wrong. Duke did not lie to the commission. The only concern I see coming out of the Utilities Commission is how many old Progress workers would be left in Raleigh, although I don’t see how that would be a concern for rate payers. What difference does it make to them where the workers are located?