By Paul M. Barrett
We’ve given Jim Rogers, the outspoken chief executive of Duke Energy (DUK), plenty of real and virtual ink over the years—and for good reason. He’s the biggest personality in the power industry, the head of the country’s largest utility, and an intriguing advocate for moving away from fossil fuel, even as he has burned more of it than just about anyone you’re likely to meet.
Some environmentalists think Rogers is more wind than substance when it comes to going green. The question of the executive’s legacy will be front and center in Duke’s hometown of Charlotte, N.C., this week, as Rogers gets ready for his final annual shareholders’ meeting on May 2. He has announced that he will retire by year’s end.
Greenpeace and a local environmental group called NC WARN bought a full-page ad in the May 1 edition of the Charlotte Observer to scold Rogers for not having done nearly enough. “Jim Rogers has seven months to determine how history will remember his eight years as the CEO of one of the world’s largest electric utilities: a leader who helped start a clean energy revolution, or a laggard who talked about global warming but never acted to stop it,” the ad says below a (not terribly flattering) image of Rogers choosing between clean and fossil-fuel energy options. The ad kicks off a campaign to pressure Rogers and highlight an alleged disparity between his words and deeds, according to a press release issued by Greenpeace and NC WARN.