Saturday, June 25, 2022

Duke Energy CEO Good gets paid

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Lynn Good, who became CEO of Duke Energy in July 2013, has had a lucrative run.

Over the last four years, Good’s compensation has totaled $54.3 million, including $21.4 million last year, according to a proxy released last week. The latest payout includes $7 million in stock that hinges on Duke earning a return on equity of at least 10% over the next three years. That’s about $13.5 million annually.

By comparison, Good’s predecessor Jim Rogers’s compensation averaged about $8.8 million annually during has final three years as CEO.

Duke’s board said Good’s compensation has risen to put her more in line without big-company CEOs and to reflect her work. More on that below.

Duke shareholders haven’t been as fortunate.

Since July 1, 2013 through March 8, Duke Energy shares increased 13%, excluding dividends that have averaged 3-4% annually.

During that same period, the IShares U.S. Utilities ETF gained 34%. The Philadelphia Utility Index gained 30%.

Duke’s Southeast rivals  Juno Beach, Fla.-based NextEra, Richmond, Va.-based Dominion Resources, and Atlanta-based Southern Co. increased 93%, 31% and 2%, respectively, excluding dividends.

The S&P 500 index advanced 68%.

Good and Rogers both worked at Cincinnati-based Cinergy before it was acquired by Duke. She came aboard in 2003 after previous CPA work at Arthur Andersen, which blew up in the Enron accounting scandal, and Deloitte. He four-year pay would have been $600,000 greater if Duke’s board hadn’t penalized her for the coal ash spill at the Dan River in 2014.

On Good’s first day as CEO, Duke shares closed at about $67. On Tuesday, company shares closed at $76.47.

In her tenure as CEO, Duke’s proxy says she has “Intensified our focus on serving our customers and communities, while leading the way to a safe, secure and responsible energy future. With our transition complete, our strategy for the next decade is clear. We see great opportunities ahead and remain focused on investing in infrastructure our customers value and delivering sustainable growth for our investors. We will do this while building on our foundation of customer satisfaction and stakeholder engagement, all while remaining focused on safety, operational excellence and the environment.”

In English, that means Good has pushed the company to a greater reliance on its core regulated businesses. That largely requires staying in the good graces of state utility regulators and being less subject to the more risky whims of unregulated energy markets.

The proxy cites these key actions during her tenure:

  • Enter the regulated pipeline business.
  • Exited Midwest generation business.
  • Repatriated cash from international businesses.
  • Acquired Piedmont Natural Gas Co. for $4.9 billion.
  • Sold Latin American generation business.

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David Mildenberg
David Mildenberg is editor of Business North Carolina. Reach him at

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