Progress CEO out, gets up to $10.3M after merger

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — The Progress Energy chief executive whose sudden departure was announced hours after the merger creating America's largest electric utility is getting a big payout.

Duke Energy reports to the Securities and Exchange Commission that it's paying former Progress Energy CEO Bill Johnson as much as $10.3 million. Johnson was supposed to become CEO of the combined company Tuesday, but resigned suddenly.

Johnson last week signed a three-year employment contract that was supposed to take effect Tuesday.

Duke said in the securities filing previously reported by The Charlotte Observer that Johnson gets a severance payout of $7.4 million, 2012 bonus of $1.4 million, and a lump sum of up to $1.5 million.

Duke Energy CEO Jim Rogers will continue in that role as head of the expanded company.

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