Maybe Duke Energy thought that Bill Johnson would be accommodating enough to disappear from public view after they voluntarily resigned him. After all, they gave him a package worth up to $44.7 million to go away and work on his short game.
But then an unpleasant thing happened to the guys in Charlotte this weekend, which is that the board of the Tennessee Valley Authority, a huge utility, picked Johnson to be the new CEO. Which may be puzzling to Duke shareholders.
After all, Johnson was said by the old Duke members of the new Duke board to be such an overbearing sort that they felt they had to eject him from the C-suite toot suite once the merger with Progress Energy closed and give him a huge pile of cash to get his badge. In a matter of four months, however, Johnson is back in a big job with a big salary.
Presumably, given his nano-tenure atop Duke (congratulations on your appointment, handshakes all around, and, then, "It's been literally minutes, and it's just not working out, Bill"), Johnson probably said to the TVA board something like: "You guys really mean this. I mean, you don't have crossies on, or nothing?" And the TVA board replied: "No crossies." And they all probably had to pinky swear in the execution of the employment contract.
Well, it's been several hours, and nothing from Knoxville suggests that Johnson has been frog-marched out the front door yet, and it is early afternoon, so his new job is probably secure.
---Dan Barkin, senior editor