William Cavanaugh III Definition

Who is William Cavanaugh III?

William Cavanaugh III is an American businessman with a long history of leadership positions in the energy manufacturing and immovable Industries. He is currently lead director on the board of Duke Realty, a US real estate investment trust (REIT), based in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Key points to remember

  • William Cavanaugh III is best known as CEO of Carolina Power & Light (CP&L), which later became Progress Energy.
  • During his tenure at CP&L and later at Progress Energy, Cavanaugh opposed deregulation of the energy industry because he did not see how such a move would make energy companies both more profitable and better for customers.
  • Cavanaugh retired from Progress Energy in 2004, and since then has held positions with energy industry groups like the World Association of Nuclear Operators.

Investopedia / Alison Czinkota


William Cavanaugh III Biography and Career

William Cavanaugh III was born in New Orleans, Louisiana in 1939. As a young man, he enrolled at Tulane University, also in New Orleans, where he studied mechanical engineering.

Military career in the navy

After earning a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering in 1961, he enlisted in the United States Navy, where he served for the next eight years, learning important lessons about nuclear power generation through the nuclear submarine program. of the US Navy.

In 1969, he was honorably discharged from the Navy, at which time he embarked on a career with Entergy Corp., based in New Orleans.

Cavanaugh’s early career in the energy industry

At Entergy, Cavanaugh held executive positions at three of the company’s electric utilities subsidiaries: Arkansas Power & Light, Louisiana Power & Light and Mississippi Power & Light.

Cavanaugh then completed the Kidder-Peabody Utility Corporate Finance Program in 1983 and Harvard University’s Advanced Management Program in 1991. These certifications prepared him for leadership positions in the power generation industry.

He joined Carolina Power & Light Company as President and CEO in 1992, and rose to the position of President and Chief Operating Officer (CEO) in 1999.

Cavanaugh’s later career

As CEO of Carolina Power & Light, Cavanaugh led the company in 1999 acquisition of Florida Progress Corp, which CP&L bought for $54 a share.

The combined company adopted a new name, Progress Energy, and became what was at the time the ninth largest energy producer in the United States. Under Cavanaugh’s leadership, the company became a Fortune 500 company with a new headquarters in Raleigh, North Carolina, with annual revenue of approximately $8 billion.

During this period, Cavanaugh notably resisted the tendency of the energy industry to take advantage of deregulation to shift operations to energy trading. Enron Corporation, the leader of this movement, was later disgraced after being accused of lying to shareholders and manipulating energy markets. Cavanaugh’s skepticism led him to push versus deregulation of the energy sector. In the end, Cavanaugh was vindicated and his reputation as a CEO of integrity grew.

William Cavanaugh III Retirement

Cavanaugh retired as CEO of the new company in 2004, and the company was later taken over by Duke Energy in a $26 billion merger that formed the nation’s largest electricity supplier. . utility.

After retiring from Progress Energy, Cavanaugh served as president of the World Association of Nuclear Operators, an international association of nuclear power plant operators dedicated to promoting the safe operation of nuclear energy.

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