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Three top Progress officials resign at Duke Energy

Posted July 11, 2012

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— Three of the top Progress Energy officials who were to help former Progress CEO Bill Johnson run the merged Duke Energy, have resigned, Duke says.

The resignations came as Duke's top executive Jim Rogers testified Tuesday about the surprise ouster of Johnson as CEO last week.

Tuesday night, Duke said in a brief press release that John McArthur, Mark Mulhern and Paula Sims "have resigned, effective immediately."

Rogers also said the three were leaving in his testimony. Quoting Rogers, Duke in the announcement said that the three "requested to step down."

All three would have played key roles in the operation of Duke.

Progress Energy CEO Bill Johnson

McArthur was named executive vice president for regulated utilities when the companies merged effective July 2.

Mulhern was executive vice president and chief administrative officer.

Sims was chief integration and innovation officer, the person responsible for integrating operations of the two firms.

Their depatures came a week after Johnson resigned under pressure from the newly created, combined board of Duke Energy and Progress Energy.

“We regret that John, Mark and Paula have decided to move on from Duke Energy," Rogers said in a statement.

"Since we closed the merger, we have spoken extensively with the members of our senior management committee. Our hope was that we could all work together to capitalize on the significant opportunities we now have as one company. While we encouraged the entire team to maintain their roles, John, Mark and Paula requested to step down and we wish them well.

“We are grateful to be able to draw from the deep bench of executives from both Progress Energy and Duke Energy and have already begun working to identify the best way to fulfill the responsibilities held by John, Mark and Paula," he added. "We look forward to executing on our strategy as one company and one team committed to offering significant benefits for customers, shareholders and the communities we serve."

Rogers was in Raleigh to testify about the removal of Johnson at a hearing called by the North Carolina Public Utilities Commission. Rogers said the Duke board has lost confidence in Johnson's ability to run the combined company.

Duke and Progress are integrating their operations.

Rogers said at the hearing that Raleigh remained an important part of Duke's operations.

John McArthur

McArthur served as executive vice president for administration and corporate relations as well as general counsel and corporate secretary.

John McArthur

His biography as posted by Progress:

"John McArthur was named executive vice president in September 2008. In that role, he is responsible for corporate and utility support functions, including Corporate Services; Corporate Communications; Human Resources; External Relations; Legal; and Audit Services. He serves as general counsel and corporate secretary, a position he has held since January 2004. Previously he served as senior vice president - Corporate Relations and as vice president - Public Affairs.

"McArthur came to Progress Energy in December 2001 after serving as a senior adviser to N.C. Gov. Mike Easley. McArthur directed major policy initiatives as well as media and legal affairs for the governor.

"Previously, McArthur handled state government affairs for General Electric Co. He also served as chief counsel in the N.C. Attorney General's office, where he supervised utility, consumer, health care and environmental protection issues. He was a partner in the Raleigh law office of Hunton & Williams. He also served as a law clerk to the Honorable Sam J. Ervin III of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. A graduate of Davidson College, he earned his law degree from the University of South Carolina where he was editor-in-chief of the Law Review."

Mark Mulhern

Mulhern was senior vice president and chief financial officer at Progress.

His biography from Progress:

Mark Mulhern

"Mulhern joined Progress Energy (formerly Carolina Power & Light) in 1996 as vice president and controller. He served as vice president and treasurer from 1997 through 2000, when he assumed the role of vice president – strategic planning at the close of the merger with Florida Progress in 2000. He served as senior vice president of competitive commercial operations in Progress Ventures from 2003 to 2005. He served as the President of Progress Ventures from 2005-2008, the unregulated subsidiary of Progress Energy that divested substantially all of its $4 billion of assets between 2006-2007. Mulhern served as Senior Vice President of Finance of Progress Energy from 2007-2008.

"Before joining the company, Mulhern was the chief financial officer at Hydra Co Enterprises, the independent power subsidiary of Niagara Mohawk. He also spent eight years at Price Waterhouse in Syracuse, New York, serving a wide variety of manufacturing and service businesses.

Mulhern serves on the EEI Financial Executive Advisory Committee. He is on the board of directors for EXCO Resources as well as Habitat for Humanity - North Carolina. He has served in a number of volunteer and leadership roles with local and professional agencies ranging from St. Michael's elementary school to Leadership North Carolina and the Planning Institute of Central New York. He is a 1982 graduate of St. Bonaventure University. He is a certified public accountant, a certified management accountant, and a certified internal auditor. He has completed the nuclear executive program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology."

Paula Sims

Sims served as senior vice president for corporate development and improvement at Progress.

Paula Sims

Her biography at Progress:

"In this role, Sims is responsible for implementing the "Balanced Solution" strategy to meet the future energy needs of our customers. Corporate Development and Improvement is also responsible for program development and construction of new generation projects, renewable energy and energy efficiency programs, supply chain, information technology and wholesale power operations. In addition, Sims is the executive sponsor for Continuous Business Excellence, Progress Energy's framework for improving processes, efficiency and overall cost management and has responsibility for environmental, health and safety.

"Sims joined Progress Energy in 1999 and has held the roles of senior vice president – Power Operations, senior vice president – Regulated Services, vice president – Fossil Generation Department, vice president – Regulated Fuels, chief operating officer – Progress Fuels, vice president – Business Operations and Strategic Planning for Progress Fuels, audit manager for Progress Energy Service Company and played a leadership role in the human resource integration activities during the CP&L/FPC merger.

"Before coming to Progress Energy, Sims spent 15 years with GE Aircraft Engines in various engineering, operations and plant management roles.

"Sims earned a bachelor's degree in engineering from Virginia Polytechnic Institute, a master's degree in engineering from Boston University and a master's degree in business administration from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She has attended several Advanced Management Courses at GE's CrotonvilleTraining Program and at Duke University. She has completed the Nuclear Executive Program at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

"Sims serves on the Meredith College Board of Trustees."


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  • mswayze Jul 12, 2012

    i see alcoa sold its hydro plant to a small private company, tva is still shuffling parts between two non working nuclear reactors, there is still watts bar for rent and the three additional leases at shearon harris are still valid. why the big push for a nuke plant in western NC? corruption- no doubts here.

  • Gilgamesh 2 Jul 11, 2012

    John, Mark and Paul...I smell a Rat!....YouDontSay

  • Gilgamesh 2 Jul 11, 2012

    John, Mark and Paul we will see future reports on them,,,just wait

  • working for deadbeats Jul 11, 2012

    We the customers are screwed!

  • are you kidding me Jul 11, 2012

    common theme here...lies...lies...lies

  • bombayrunner Jul 11, 2012

    resign == Golden Parachute, golf, leisure ...

  • iwannareply Jul 11, 2012

    It certainly makes me vomit that the people running the utilities --at the top are overpaid, lucky, and have GREED as their guiding light.

  • YourConscience Jul 11, 2012

    The commission needs to interview Johnson and these other 3 to get the WHOLE story under oath. They also need to interview other progress energy and duke junior management, they could reveal things. Commission should reverse decision effective immeadiately. They took the carrot, the trap has sprung. Its time to get NC consumers out of the trap.

  • mautry Jul 11, 2012

    if it stinks this bad this early, it can only get worse and the customers will pay the price

  • lifetime_learner01 Jul 11, 2012

    Good for them for standing by their takes a lot of guts to walk away when you don't believe a given situation is right.