In choosing an attorney and a law firm to lead the states investigation of the Duke Energy-Progress Energy merger, the N.C. Utilities Commission has reached out to a former federal prosecutor in Chicago, Anton Valukas. Hes the chairman of a 450-person firm and was the bankruptcy examiner in the collapse of Lehman Brothers. The public can expect that Valukas will get to the bottom of the firestorm that followed the ousting of Progress CEO Bill Johnson from the top spot in the merged company and the reinstatement of Dukes Jim Rogers as CEO.
The commission had approved the merger based on the assumption that, as the companies had announced, Johnson would run the day-to-day operation and Rogers would become chairman. Duke maintains Johnson just wasnt a good fit and that Progress had problems with him in charge. Johnson and his defenders say thats not the case.
Its important that the merger, creating the nations largest utility, pass re-inspection as serving the public interest. Valukas job is to get the answers needed by the commission.