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Duke exec resigning after publication of e-mails

James Turner will resign as group executive, president and chief operating officer of Duke Energy Corp.’s U.S. Franchised Electric and Gas business, the company said Monday.

The resignation comes after the Indianapolis Star newspaper published e-mail communications between Turner and Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission Chairman David Lott Hardy. The e-mails suggested that the two were friendly, raising concerns about the IURC’s neutrality.

“As a leader, I have a duty to exercise the highest level of professionalism at all times in my communications,” Turner said in a statement. “In certain e-mails to a former commissioner in Indiana, I fell short of this standard. I am choosing to step away at this time so that our company and our employees can begin to move on from this distraction.”

Turner had been with Duke as a senior leader since 2006, when Cincinnati-based Cinergy and Duke merged. Turner’s salary last year was $650,000, according to Forbes.

Other Duke e-mails in Indiana have been under scrutiny by the IURC this year.

In October, following a news story about e-mails, the IURC launched an investigation of cases over which a former commission attorney, who later took a job with Duke, presided.

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