Progress Energy CEO Bill Johnson, who will lead the nation's biggest utility company when the merger between Raleigh-based Progress and Charlotte's Duke Energy is completed later this year, is suddenly in demand by the national media.
Johnson has taken advantage of his increased national profile to act as the electric industry's ambassador to a broader audience, extending far beyond the borders of North Carolina. In his speeches, Johnson has warned of higher energy costs and the perils of misguided regulation.
Just in the past week, Johnson, 57, has granted interviews to Fox News, Associated Press, Bloomberg News and Forbes.com. More media interviews are expected this week as Johnson continues making national appearances at industry conferences and events.
In the filmed Forbes.com interview, Johnson laid out the rationale for the Duke-Progress merger as a matter of economic survival.
"We're a small company compared to the capital program we have ahead of us," Johnson told interviewer Josh Wolfe. "The capital outlay ahead of us is just so daunting that we weren't big enough to do it [alone]."