How to Make $44 Million in 20 Minutes

Short answer: become and exit as CEO of Duke Energy, all in less than a day’s work.

Earlier this month, Bill Johnson enjoyed one of the shortest (and most lucrative, in dollars/hour) terms as CEO in U.S. history, as he was ousted from his new position at Duke Energy after only a few minutes on the job. Earlier today, Johnson explained to regulators that his brief time on the job was just as surprising to him as it was to the rest of the world.

Only a few weeks ago, Johnson has been the CEO of Progress Energy. Then that company merged with the larger Duke — becoming the nation’s largest electric utility provider — and Johnson was named CEO of the combined businesses… but only for about 20 minutes, at which point the board called for him to leave (with the help of a payout worth around $44 million).

The Wall Street Journal has more details about this crazy story. Call it a see-saw turn of events.

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