Duke Energy turns to insider to succeed CEO Rogers

Tue Jun 18, 2013 3:03pm EDT
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By Eileen O'Grady and Anna Driver

(Reuters) - Duke Energy Corp (DUK.N: Quote) has turned to an insider, Chief Financial Officer Lynn Good, to take over as chief executive when Jim Rogers steps down as part of a regulatory settlement linked to its $18 billion takeover of Progress Energy.

Good, 54, a veteran of the U.S. utility industry who is well known on Wall Street, was viewed by analysts as a leading contender for the job. Having served as CFO since July 2009, she is considered a strong manager with the experience to lead the large, complex company like Duke, the No.1 U.S. power producer.

"She's highly competent; she knows the ropes so there won't be a learning curve," Paul Patterson, an analyst at Glenrock Associates in New York, said on Tuesday after Duke's announcement.

Duke serves about 7.2 million electricity customers in six states in the U.S. Southeast and Midwest.

Rogers, 65, had been expected to retire when Duke's $18 billion takeover of Progress Energy closed last July, with Progress CEO William Johnson set to take the top job at the combined company. But Johnson was ousted by Duke's board of directors just hours after the deal closed.

Johnson's removal triggered anger in North Carolina, the merged company's largest market. Regulators, after reviewing the takeover proposal for months, felt slighted when Rogers unexpectedly took control. Subsequent hearings into the matter resulted in a settlement formalizing Rogers' exit.

Rogers will step down as CEO on July 1. He will continue as Duke chairman until his retirement on December 31. The board will name one of its independent directors to assume the responsibilities of chairman as of January 1.

Andrew Bischof, a utility company analyst at Morningstar in Chicago, said an external candidate would have better been able to repair Duke's relationship with North Carolina regulators.   Continued...

Jim Rogers, CEO of Duke Energy speaks during the Charlotte Chamber's Economic Outlook Conference in Charlotte, North Carolina December 17, 2012. REUTERS/Chris Keane