Former Progress Energy chief, Bill Johnson, named CEO of Tennessee Valley Authority

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Four months after a controversial boardroom ouster, former Progress Energy Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Bill Johnson was named Monday as CEO of the Tennessee Valley Authority, reports the News Service of Florida.

Johnson was slated to become president and chief executive of Duke Energy after a merger this summer with Progress, but he was asked to resign just hours after taking over the duties. Johnson said later he was “stunned” by the ouster. In a news release Monday, the TVA said Johnson will become its top executive Jan. 1.

“Bill is a seasoned CEO with deep experience leading a company with a diverse energy portfolio – from coal and gas, to nuclear, hydro and renewables,” TVA board Chairman Bill Sansom said in the news release. “TVA will benefit from his strong leadership skills, deep industry expertise and ability to drive employee engagement.”

But the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy issued a statement expressing doubts about the appointment, in part because of Johnson’s oversight of two nuclear-power projects in Florida. A Progress Energy Florida nuclear plant at Crystal River has been shut down since 2009 because of a troubled repair project, and the utility also has drawn criticism for a proposal to build two nuclear reactors in Levy County. “While we may never know the full story of why Johnson was so abruptly dismissed (after the merger), there are some known facts which would make one question whether or not he is the best fit to lead TVA,” said Stephen Smith, the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy’s executive director.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.