Duke Energy CEO resigns after 5 hours on the job: pay for the day? – 44.4 Million Dollars


For most Americans, getting fired from a job is a nightmare scenario. Not so if you’re a CEO toiling away at one of the country’s wealthiest companies.

After just five hours on the job, Duke Energy CEO Bill Johnson was surprisingly removed from his chief executive post and given a stunning $44.4 million severance package. The bizarre turn of events illustrates the massive salary chasm between CEOs and worker bees in the economically sluggish United States.

The lightning quick departure — and monsterous payout — is unprecedented in American corporate history and has left analysts wondering how it happened.

According to the Wall Street Journal, here’s what we know: Johnson (pictured) held a similar CEO position with Progress Energy about 18 months ago. At that time, Duke Energy and Progress Energy began a merger. Duke Energy, based in Charlotte, North Carolina, is the largest electric power holding company in the United States.

That merger was recently completed, and Johnson signed a deal on June 27 to become the energy company’s new CEO. Meanwhile, Jim Rogers was tabbed to become the organization’s chairman.

After only a few hours, however, Energy’s board apparently had a change of heart. Johnson was out as CEO and Rogers was in. For the half day he served as CEO, Johnson was provided a compensation package estimated at more than $44 million, Forbes reports.

The NY Times says Johnson was shocked by the board’s vote but gave his resignation: “Mr. Johnson complied with the board’s request, which was made directly to him by Duke’s lead director, Ann Maynard Gray. He was shocked by the board’s action, according to a friend, and submitted his resignation on July 3, just hours before Duke announced that Mr. Rogers would take over.”

So Johnson walked into the job, probably had long enough to find the coffee machine, and was gone by lunch. For his troubles, he’ll receive $7.4 million severance, a $1.4 million bonus, a hefty stock deal, and a $1.5 million lump-sum payout — for a grand total of $44.4 million.

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5 Responses to Duke Energy CEO resigns after 5 hours on the job: pay for the day? – 44.4 Million Dollars

  1. Citizen Harry says:

    Here’s another reason that energy comes at such a price. Come on Walt! Let’s hear how this is a wonderfully good thing for energy, corporations, all us peons, and the American Way!
    Citizen Harry

    • Walt says:

      If your employer offered you a contract like Mr. Johnson received, would you turn it down? I doubt it. Every employee or potential employee will try to work out the best deal for themselves, the board of directors were the ones that approved the contract, if you are going to be upset with anyone it should be them and not Mr. Johnson.

  2. Citizen Harry says:

    Here you are putting words in my mouth. Where in my comment did I say anything about Mr. Johnson? I merely mentioned that this is a good example of why energy comes at such a price. People can make up their own minds about whether this sort of thing is ok. Your kind of thinking that fuels greed, not stewardship of precious resources. This company is shameful, and a system where the rich get richer and the poor get poorer is not what our founding fathers wanted for us. At the current % of what most people pay Duke energy every month it will take them 352 thousand years to pay off his salary for that day. So you’re saying that is why it’s so great to live in America?
    “The end of democracy and the defeat of the American Revolution will occur when government falls into the hands of lending institutions and moneyed incorporations.”
    ― Thomas Jefferson

    • Walt says:

      Harry quit your whining. The bases of the article and your comment was that Mr. Johnson made 44 million for one day’s work.

      Your math leaves a little to be desired, if every Duke customer (7 million) paid $0.10 (or one thousandth of a percent based on a one hundred dollar monthly electric bill) per month, Mr. Johnson 44 million dollar payday would be paid off in 5 years and 3 months, not the 352 thousand years that you come up with. FYI, I do not approve of anyone making that kind of money for one day’s work, but as I said before the blame should go to the board of directors for approving the contract.

  3. Citizen Harry says:

    I’m not whining, you’re alias ‘Walt’ has become the definition of whinery. lol. Sorry Walt, I was thinking about how long it would take one customer to pay it off, and my number wasn’t properly calculated, just generally ciphered off the top of my head. And then… by trying to make me look bad, you’ve continued to miss the whole point of discussing why greed like this makes energy cost more. And again, you’re wrong. In my original comment I never mentioned that it was the CEO’s fault, (though it is) but commented that the whole scenario is what makes energy cost more. Yes, it’s the board of directors, I do agree with you. But the CEO doesn’t have to accept it on principle. (Unfortunately, most CEO’s don’t seem to worry about principles anymore – although I did enjoy reading the earlier article on CEO Bob Taylor [ https://coalcountry.wordpress.com/2012/06/06/finally-a-ceo-that-really-gets-it-bob-taylor-please-see-this/ ] and his willingness to bring ethical principles into his business profile). And I’ll go on to mention that it’s this sort of thing that is ruining America. I bet you think Walmart is the best thing that every happened to this country as well, bludgeoning the small businesses of America to death, and enabling China and other countries to gain the upper hand in controlling our economy. Let’s talk about the facts, and not just try to make me look bad, that is… if you can muster up some positive ethics of your own.

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