When Duke Energy bought out Progress Energy on Monday, it formed a utility company of colossal proportions, which will provide power to more than 7 million Americans. And a whopping company means a whopping CEO compensation package — even if that CEO is no longer the CEO. Bill Johnson resigned after just hours at the helm of the new firm,reports The Wall Street Journal, and walked away with a severance package that could be worth up to $44.4 million.
Johnson had been the CEO of Progress Energy, and 18 months ago, it was announced that as soon as the merger closed, he would become the new CEO of the largest electric company in the country. But just after midnight Monday night, Johnson stepped down “by mutual agreement” with the board, according to the Associated Press, which handed the reins of the $32 billion company back to former Duke Energy CEO Jim Rogers.
The new Duke board, which is two-thirds old Duke directors, made the decision after an executive session in which they came to the conclusion that Rogers, who had run the larger company, and was more of a “consensus builder,” according to WSJ, was better-suited to the job.