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US CEO paid $44m for one day's work

15:00 AEST Mon Jul 9 2012
MSN NZ
A US energy company's chief executive has walked away with $44 million in severance pay after just one day in the job
A US energy company's chief executive has walked away with $44 million in severance pay after just one day in the job (Thinkstock)

A US energy company's chief executive has walked away with $44 million in severance pay after just one day in the job.

Bill Johnson was chief executive of US-based Progress Energy when the company entered a merger agreement with Duke Energy on June 27, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Mr Johnson assumed the same role at the combined company and signed a three-year deal to stay on as chief executive when the merger was confirmed on July 2.

But at midnight on July 3, after just one day in the role, Mr Johnson announced his resignation, apparently after a falling out with the company's board.

Mr Johnson's hourly pay rate has been calculated at $5.5 million an hour, or around 765,000 times the US minimum wage.

Duke Energy is now facing pressure to reveal what led to the Mr Johnon's sudden departure while the North Carolina Utilities Commission, which approved the merger, is considering launching an investigation.

Mr Johnson has been replaced by former Duke Energy chief executive Jim Rogers.