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Progress Energy Florida president resigns as merger turmoil continues

Progress Energy Florida president Vincent Dolan announced his retirement Wednesday, a move that comes at a time of growing scrutiny over how his operation has handled its nuclear program.

Dolan, the head of the state's second-largest utility, plans to step down by the end of the year. That will allow him to remain in his post through the Republican National Convention this month in Tampa, for which he serves as Host Committee CEO along with his role as Tampa Bay Partnership chair.

Progress Energy Florida was a subsidiary of North Carolina-based Progress Energy and became part of Duke Energy in a merger deal that closed July 2.

A news release Wednesday did not detail reasons for Dolan's impending departure. But troubles at the broken Crystal River nuclear plant have played a significant role in a broad shakeup at the top levels of the utility since the merger.

Board members of the combined utility cited Crystal River in their decision to fire former Progress Energy CEO Bill Johnson as head of the new company.

Three of Johnson's top lieutenants left the company after he was ousted. Others, including former Progress Energy Florida CEO Jeff Lyash, decided to stay with the new company.

Dolan, 57, will be replaced by R. Alexander "Alex" Glenn, the Florida utility's general counsel who in recent years has played a prominent role in regulatory issues in Tallahassee and helped with the merger of the utilities.

Keith Trent, Duke Energy's executive vice president for regulated utilities, said in the release that a transition period will "ensure the change is seamless for customers, employees and the communities we serve."

Dolan, who has worked for the utility and predecessor companies since 1986, was unavailable to comment Wednesday, a spokesman said.

Before taking the top job at Progress Energy Florida, he was vice president of external relations. Before joining the company, Dolan worked for Foster Wheeler Energy Corp., an international engineering and manufacturing firm.

Glenn, 47, has been with Duke Energy (and predecessor companies Progress Energy and Florida Power Corp.) since 1996.

In his current role, which he assumed in 2008, Glenn has overseen all legal and regulatory matters affecting Progress Energy Florida and has been an adviser to Dolan, other company executives and the board of directors.

Before coming to Florida Power Corp., Glenn practiced energy law at the international law firm of Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP in Washington, D.C.

Glenn will take over as Duke continues to grapple with a botched repair job that has kept the Crystal River nuclear plant offline since 2009. The utility is weighing whether to spend as much as $3 billion in repairs and related costs to bring the plant back online or shut down the reactor.

Ivan Penn can be reached at ipenn@tampabay.com or (727) 892-2332.

Progress Energy Florida president resigns as merger turmoil continues 08/08/12 [Last modified: Wednesday, August 8, 2012 10:34pm]
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