Business Briefcase: Better start for TVA CEO

Business Briefcase: Better start for TVA CEO

February 17th, 2013 by Dave Flessner in Business Diary

TVA's Bill Johnson

TVA's Bill Johnson

Photo by Dan Henry /Times Free Press.

Better start for TVA CEO

Six weeks into his new job as head of the Tennessee Valley Authority, Bill Johnson is already having a much better time than at his old job, even if the pay is far less.

Four new board members joined the TVA board last month, and one board vacancy was not filled, so half of the directors overseeing Johnson as CEO of TVA are different from those who hired him just two months ago. But after a two-hour meeting Thursday in Chattanooga replete with compliments and jokes about one another, Johnson noted that the new board seems to get along with one another -- and with him.

"The dynamic of the new board working together was really there," Johnson said. "This is going to be fun and important, so that's good."

It's far different for Johnson than his previous job where the board of directors of the combined energy company he was named to head dismissed him after only one day on the job. Progress Energy and Duke Energy merged in July in a $32 billion deal to create the nation's biggest electric utility. Johnson, the 58-year-old CEO of Progress Energy, was named head of the combined company, known as Duke Energy. But Duke directors quickly second-guessed their decision and dismissed Johnson after only one day as head of the combined company.

Johnson was rewarded for his efforts, however. Johnson left Duke with a golden parachute worth up to $44.7 million.

At TVA, Johnson will be eligible to make up to $3 million a year.

Chamber outreach set for Friday

Dozens of Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce representatives will canvass area businesses Friday to spur discussion about how the Chattanooga Chamber helps area companies grow. The one-day campaign will conclude with a networking gathering from 5 to 7 p.m. at MOCHA Restaurant & Lounge, where event organizers will award prizes to participants based on the day's results.

"As our members continue to demonstrate, companies that maintain high levels of engagement in a local network of peers enjoy access to more customers and increased visibility, as well as opportunities to cut costs through partnerships with other businesses," said Sandra Brewer, vice president of Member-Investor Services for the Chattanooga Chamber.

The 1,600 member companies of the Chattanooga Chamber collectively employ more than 79,000 people.