18 July 2012

CEO is paid $44,000,000 for one day's work

That's not quite accurate - he actually was CEO of the merged companies for only 20 minutes:
Pressure is building on Duke Energy Corp.to explain the abrupt departure of Bill Johnson as chief executive this week, as former Progress Energy board members break their silence and express outrage at what they term a calculated deception.

At the same time, the North Carolina Utilities Commission, which last week approved the merger between Charlotte, N.C.-based Duke and Raleigh, N.C., Progress with the understanding that Johnson would be Duke's CEO, is deliberating whether to investigate Duke officials over possible false statements about their intentions.

For less than a day's work, Johnson is entitled to a hefty exit package that could amount to about $44 million, according to a securities filing...

Details emerged Thursday revealing that Johnson was asked to resign Monday afternoon, shortly after the merger closed that day at 4:02 p.m., suggesting to some that his ouster was choreographed in advance. The merger had received final approval from South Carolina regulators earlier Monday. Johnson signed his employment contract with Duke on June 27, days before the merger closed.

He was CEO of the combined company for about 20 minutes, Mullin said. After the merger closed, Duke's board went into executive session and voted to request Johnson's resignation, Mullin wrote.
Additional details in the Los Angeles Times.


  1. From the beginning, this merger had all the makings of a train wreck. It wasn't much of a surprise to me that something like this happened.

  2. So is that about $2,200,000 a minute? I'm horrible at math..

    Is there some way we can blame this on teachers, firemen, police, and other public workers?

  3. There are plenty of shady elements here, and I'm not suggesting this is somehow acceptable corporate behavior, but a few friends of mine have argued that this is a little more complicated than it appears. Johnson was the CEO of Progress before the merger, and worked there for 17 years. The board apparently pulled a fast one and screwed him over, along with those from Progress who thought they had a deal regarding corporate succession. There is an investigation underway, and a lawsuit against the Duke board has already been filed by upset shareholders. Anyway, it's somewhat more involved than simply giving a guy a check for one day of work (or 20 minutes), as you could argue that this was tied to his 17-year tenure with one of the pre-merger companies. Of course, that's still a pretty impressive golden parachute ...

    1. Certainly it's complicated, and very likely legal, but note the credentials of the person making the allegations:

      "In my opinion this is the most blatant example of corporate deceit that I have witnessed during a long career on Wall Street and as a director of 10 publicly traded companies and as a former trustee of Putnam's numerous mutual funds."

  4. Signature: $1
    Knowing when/how to do it: $43,999,999

  5. The real story here is how, in spite of the hard work of this individual, the gov't is going to weasel in and expect their share. How can this gentleman keep food on the table and a roof over his head if he only gets to keep $30,000,000???

    Has anyone considered opening a trust fund for him? I would, but I'm unemployed.

    Seriously - the entire board should be fried by the stockholders for this kind of treachery. But I suppose they too, all have parachutes... fml

    BTW, the audio captcha is worse than the pictures. And creepy!


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