Duke Energy executive Lynn Good will replace long-time CEO Jim Rogers.
We knew Rogers would be leaving Duke. He's 65. And, state regulators made him promise to retire this year as part of a settlement to end the investigation into that surprise CEO switch when Duke merged with Progress.
The North Carolina Utilities Commission said hiring a new CEO would "restore the balance originally contemplated by the merger agreement." But Jim Rogers' replacement is not an outsider, and she doesn't come from the Progress side of the business either.
"This about as close to handpicked successor as you can find out of the available candidates," says UNC Charlotte professor Peter Schwarz, who studies the electric industry.
54-year old Lynn Good has spent a decade working for Jim Rogers at Duke and its predecessor company. As Duke's first female CEO, Good will become one of fewer than two dozen women running Fortune 500 firms.
For the last three years she's been Duke's CFO - making her the most visible executive with the company's investors, next to Rogers. She also played a key role in the Progress merger. The Duke board considered internal candidates with Progress Energy background, says Schwarz, but ended up going for continuity.
"And I also think they decided it would be perhaps less disruptive after what has been a pretty turbulent time," says Schwarz.
In the last year, Duke has settled with North Carolina regulators investigating the merger; announced plans to retire – rather than repair – a damaged nuclear plant in Florida; and finished new coal-fired plant in Indiana that has been mired in scandal and cost overruns.
Duke spokesman Tom Williams says the board wanted to continue the momentum.
"The board was unanimous," adds Williams. "Everybody agreed that Lynn Good was the best choice as CEO and president of the company going forward."
That includes the board members who came over from Progress Energy.
Good starts work as president and CEO of the nation's largest electric utility on July 1, 2013.
Jim Rogers will remain chairman of the Duke Energy board until December 31, 2013.