The Progress Energy board of directors unanimously elected UNC School of Law alumnus, William D. Johnson '82, chairman of the board of directors, CEO and president of the company on Oct. 12, 2007. Johnson replaced Robert B. McGehee, the former chairman and CEO, who died suddenly while on a business trip in England. Johnson’s previous position as chief operating officer will not be filled, according to a company press release.
“We are saddened to have to take this action today, but we are heartened that Bill Johnson stands ready to provide continuity in leadership for the company,” said John Mullin III, lead director who was serving as acting chairman during this transition. “Bill has earned the confidence of the board and employees. He is ready to lead the company as it continues its focus on operational excellence and customer service. It is a tribute to Bob McGehee’s leadership that the company has a talented management team in place, an effective succession plan and a capable leader in Bill Johnson.”
As the company’s president and chief operating officer, Johnson was already responsible for overseeing the generation and delivery of electricity by Progress Energy Carolinas and Progress Energy Florida. He has been with the company in a number of roles since 1992, including group president for Energy Delivery, president and CEO for Progress Energy Service Company, and general counsel and secretary for Progress Energy, Inc. Before joining the company, Johnson was a partner with the Raleigh office of Hunton & Williams, where he specialized in the representation of electric utilities.
“Progress Energy lost an outstanding leader and a dear friend in Bob McGehee,” Johnson said. “Although I am thankful for this opportunity to serve, I accept it with a heavy heart. I feel fortunate to work with the strong management team that Bob assembled. Inspired by the dedication of the men and women of this great company, I will work every day to build on Bob’s legacy of excellence and the positive momentum his leadership created.”
In addition to electing Johnson as chairman, CEO and president, the board approved a resolution honoring McGehee for his leadership, integrity and strategic vision.
Progress Energy, headquartered in Raleigh, N.C., is a Fortune 250 energy company with more than 21,000 megawatts of generation capacity and $10 billion in annual revenues. The company includes two major utilities that serve more than 3.1 million customers in the Carolinas and Florida. Progress Energy is the 2006 recipient of the Edison Electric Institute's Edison Award, the industry's highest honor, in recognition of its operational excellence. The company also is the first utility to receive the prestigious J.D. Power and Associates Founder's Award for customer service. Progress Energy serves two fast-growing areas of the country, and the company is pursuing a balanced approach to meeting the future energy needs of the region. That balance includes increased energy efficiency programs, investments in renewable energy technologies and a state-of-the-art electricity system.
For more information about Progress Energy, visit the company’s Web site at
-October 19, 2007