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Robert Trigaux

Progress Energy CEO Johnson took pay cut



Billjohnsonprogressenergy Trying to pin down real executive compensation dollars is like standing outside in a hurricane. Sometimes something significant hits you. But mostly it's a lot of hot air. Consider North Carolina's top execs of Progress Energy -- Tampa Bay's dominant electricity provider -- and nearby Duke Energy.

Progress Energy CEO Bill Johnson (see photo) took a 21 percent cut in total compensation last year even as his paycheck got bigger, according to a preliminary filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. So reports the hometown Raleigh newspaper, the News & Observer. Johnson's pay package dropped to $6.1 million in 2008 from $7.7 million the year before, according to a preliminary proxy statement filed Wednesday. Johnson's base annual salary jumped nearly 18 percent to $950,000 last year, but the large increase was partially the result of the fact that he didn't become CEO until late 2007, the Raleigh paper says. Total executive compensation decreased in stock awards, incentive bonuses, pensions and other retirement plans.

Jimrogersdukeenergyap Over at Duke Energy, there's a different tale. Duke CEO Jim Rogers (photo by AP) will draw no salary or bonus for next five years, but will receive stock awards that could earn him as much as $52.5 million over that period. "In a sense, this deal is all about my performance over the next five years," Rogers told the AP. The deal will average $7.6 million to $10.5 million a year, depending on whether certain performance standards are reached, according to a company regulatory filing on Wednesday.

Back at Progress Energy -- whose annual meeting is May 13 in Raleigh this year -- the proxy shows that the long list of executive perks got trimmed in 2008. Here's what was discontinued for the Big Cheeses in the company: Car allowances; country club memberships; use of event tickets unrelated to business; tax gross-ups (the company covers tax  liability), and personal or personal spousal travel on corporate aircraft (unless okayed by the CEO).

Don't worry. They won't be destitute. That still leaves them subsidized by the company for, among other things: "business related" spousal travel on corporate aircraft; financial planning and tax prep services; luncheon and health club dues; executive physicals; Internet and telecom access, and home security services.

-- Robert Trigaux, Times Business Columnist 

[Last modified: Tuesday, June 1, 2010 11:24am]


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