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REGIONALREPORT Charlotte

A shocking change

Charlotte-based Duke Energy Corp. keeps its promises. Sort of. It stuck to its merger agreement with Raleigh-based Progress Energy Inc. by naming Bill Johnson — Progress’ chief executive —
CEO after the two utilities became one July 2. But within hours, Duke’s board had forced Johnson’s resignation. Jim Rogers, former Duke CEO who was to become executive chairman of the
merged company, the nation’s largest electric utility, got his old job back.

Duke’s board, Rogers told the N.C. Utilities Commission, had grown wary of Johnson’s “autocratic” management style and the performance of Progress’ nuclear fleet. Johnson contends Duke
wanted out of the deal after costs skyrocketed because of concessions made to regulators.

20 minutes
Time directors needed after the merger closed to vote to ask for Johnson’s resignation

2 hours, 45 minutes
Time it took after the merger closed for the board to inform Johnson that it wanted his resignation

$44 million
Approximate amount Johnson earned as Duke CEO, based on the exit package he got

$1.3 billion
Possible cost of repairs to Progress’ nuclear plant in Crystal River, Fla., which has been offline since 2009

 

$202.8 million

Economic impact the nonprofit arts and culture industry had on Mecklenburg County in 2010, according to a study by Americans for the Arts.

Briefs

DAVIDSONMSC Industrial Direct will create a co-headquarters here, investing $31 million and hiring 400 within five years. The marketer and distributor of metalworking, maintenance and repair supplies will also maintain its headquarters in Melville, N.Y. The company employs 64 in branch offices in Asheville, Camp Lejeune, Charlotte, Greensboro and Raleigh. Annual wages will average more than $79,000, higher than Mecklenburg County’s average of $51,792.

CHARLOTTE — Steelmaker Nucor will acquire Parsippany, N.J.-based Skyline Steel for $605 million. The company, which distributes steel, will maintain Skyline’s headquarters as a subsidiary. 

CHARLOTTE — Hartford, Conn.-based United Technologies will invest $4 million and add 325 jobs here over five years after its $18.4 billion acquisition of aeronautics and defense company Goodrich closes. The conglomerate will keep a regional headquarters in Charlotte for its UTC Aerospace Systems subsidiary. Goodrich employs 200 at its corporate headquarters here and 300 at a plant in nearby Monroe. 

CHARLOTTE — Carseat and stroller maker Britax Child Safety will relocate its headquarters from here to neighboring York County in South Carolina, investing $26 million and moving 243 jobs there. The 500,000-square-foot building is expected to open during the second half of 2013.

CHARLOTTE — Keepsake maker Herff Jones will close its yearbook manufacturing plant here by the end of the year as part of a consolidation. As many as 130 workers could lose their jobs, though the Indianapolis-based company says some may relocate.

CHARLOTTE LPL Financial will add 100 workers to its more than 800 here by next year with new technology-related positions such as web and software developers and project managers. The company, which has corporate offices in Boston, San Diego and Charlotte, provides consulting and technology for financial advisers.