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Duke Energy board adds ex-FCC chair

Duke Energy’s board Friday elected as a new director William Kennard, a former Federal Communications Commission chair and U.S. ambassador to the European Union.

Kennard, who lives in Washington, D.C., will take his seat Jan. 1, the day after Chairman Jim Rogers retires. He’s now a senior advisor at the private equity firm Grain Management.

Kennard, 56, will bring regulatory, international and technology experience to an unusually large 17-member Duke board that expanded with the mid-2012 merger with Progress Energy.

A settlement of the N.C. Utilities Commission’s investigation of the merger required the board to elect a second new member within a year of the November 2012 agreement. The board elected John Herron, former CEO of Entergy Nuclear, as a new board member effective March 1.

As ambassador to the European Union from 2009 until August, Kennard worked on transatlantic trade, investment and regulatory barriers to commerce. He chaired the FCC from 1997 to 2001, earning recognition for his work to expand broadband technology.

Kennard also serves on the board of MetLife and has been on the boards of the New York Times Co., Sprint Nextel Corp. and of several Carlyle Group companies.

A graduate of Stanford University and Yale Law School, Kennard has been a partner at the Washington law firm of Verner, Liipfert, Bernhard, McPherson and Hand, general counsel of the FCC and assistant general counsel at the National Association of Broadcasters.

Henderson: 704-358-5051; Twitter: @bhender
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