Rogers not eager to leave Duke Energy for DOE

Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK) CEO Jim Rogers is “flattered” to hear of published speculation that he is among candidates to succeed Energy Secretary Steven Chu in a second Obama administration, but is not expecting to take that “lower paying job.”

Rogers made the comments in response to a financial analyst’s question during Duke’s Nov. 8 quarterly earnings call.

Rogers said he planned to stay with Duke and shepherd it through a thicket of issues in the wake of the July merger with Progress Energy. The post-merger issues include resolving an investigation by the North Carolina Utilities Commission.

“Since 1990 people have been trying to promote me out of this job to the government,” Rogers said. The Duke CEO said he has plenty of work left to do at Duke.

“I am flattered that they would consider me … for this lower-paying job,” Rogers said.

Prior to the July merger, Duke had said publicly that Rogers would give up the CEO post and its emphasis on daily operations, in favor of becoming executive chairman. Then-Progress CEO Bill Johnson was to become CEO of the merged company.

But the Duke board evidently soured on Johnson and forced him to resign immediately following the merger. The Duke board had Rogers step back in as CEO. Johnson recently was named to head the Tennessee Valley Authority effective in January 2013.

The last-minute CEO switch caught the NCUC off-guard and prompted the commission to launch an investigation of the merger.

Rogers was reportedly influential in luring the 2012 Democratic National Convention to Charlotte, N.C., where Duke is based. Rogers had said that, prior to stepping back in as CEO of the combined company, he had been looking at serving on a number of boards.

As for Chu, there is speculation that he would leave the Department of Energy post during the second term.

About Wayne Barber 4201 Articles
Wayne Barber, Chief Analyst for the GenerationHub, has been covering power generation, energy and natural resources issues at national publications for more than 20 years. Prior to joining PennWell he was editor of Generation Markets Week at SNL Financial for nine years. He has also worked as a business journalist at both McGraw-Hill and Financial Times Energy. Wayne also worked as a newspaper reporter for several years. During his career has visited nuclear reactors and coal mines as well as coal and natural gas power plants. Wayne can be reached at wayneb@pennwell.com.