RALEIGH — Former board members of Progress Energy are upset the chief executive of the Raleigh-based company, Bill Johnson, was ousted as head of Duke Energy just minutes after the companies merged this week.
Former board member Alfred Tollison Jr. says he felt he was misled about the plans for Progress Energy’s chief to head the newly combined company. The deal formed the nation’s largest electric utility, which serves parts of South Carolina.
“Just from circumstantial evidence you would have to think it didn’t happen overnight, that there was a lot of forethought given to it,” said Tollison, who was on the Progress board until the merger was completed.
Duke announced Tuesday that the Charlotte-based company’s Jim Rogers was the new CEO, saying Johnson had resigned by mutual agreement.
The N.C. Utilities Commission, which had approved the merger last week based on the plans for Johnson to lead the combined companies, is considering whether to investigate the change in leadership.
The commission could use its subpoena powers to demand documents and witness testimony if it chose to hold hearings into the surprising switch in the corporate suite.
Another former Progress board member, John Mullin III, wrote the Wall Street Journal, stating: “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.”