Hours after Bill Johnson became CEO of Duke Energy, its board sought his resignation—which it received at 12:01am the day after he took the job. Such a quick change is practically unknown in US history, the Wall Street Journal notes—and nearly as shocking is the $44.4 million Johnson's set to walk away with. The energy firm announced Johnson's selection as CEO a year and a half ago; he had held the same position at Progress Energy, which merged with Duke at that time. Now, however, former Duke CEO Jim Rogers will take the job.
As the former boss of the bigger company, and as a manager focused on consensus, Rogers was seen as a better fit to combine the companies, insiders say. The decision was made at the new board's first meeting this week. It was the product of "mutual agreement," says a Duke rep. Johnson hasn't been left hanging financially: His $44.4 million in exit payments includes a $7.4 million severance, a $1.4 million bonus, a hefty stock deal, and a $1.5 million lump-sum payout—provided he doesn't speak ill of his old employer.