News Release
March 18, 2002

DUKE ENERGY CEO: BUSINESSES MUST REPAIR LOST CONFIDENCE

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Referring to current public skepticism about business, Duke Energy Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Richard B. Priory said today that corporate America should acknowledge the crisis in confidence and work to repair trust with the public.

In a speech to the Economic Club of Detroit, Priory said that recent allegations about major corporations have led the public to broadly paint corporate America in a negative light. Priory pointed to a recent Gallop Poll in which 75 percent of respondents said they believe that questionable financial practices occur at most or some other large corporations.

 

He reminded business leaders that “when those who invest their dollars and confidence in our companies begin to doubt our word and question our integrity, we risk far greater – and more lasting – loss,” than those related to market and economic cycles.

 

Priory added that corporate America can be proud of many things. He pointed to innovation, scientific advances, long-standing philanthropic efforts by the business community and the recent out-pouring of aid after Sept. 11 as examples of how the business community has reacted positively in their communities.

 

During his speech, Priory advised companies to focus on six key areas to turn around the current confidence crisis.

 

Acknowledge the problem – “When one company stands charged, we are all considered guilty until proven otherwise,” he said. Priory added that companies that consider themselves “squeaky clean” should accept the fact that the action of other companies can still stain a corporate reputation.

 

Stress financial openness – “The investing public deserves – and should demand – reliable information, candor and accountability. They need to be able to understand a business’s basic measures of success and failure.”

 

Corporate accountability – Priory challenged business leaders to “be accountable for our actions, our knowledge and the role we play in setting ethical standards.”

 

Think beyond today – “We must consider ethical conduct at every decision point in our business, and think through the reputation risk of projects and deals just as we weigh capital and other risks.”

 

Stress ethics – “We should take codes of conduct off the walls and out of their frames and begin the hard work of ensuing that ethical conduct is a personal accountability – not just a corporate platitude.”

 

Practice humility – “Arrogance and over-confidence tends to create great chasms of mistrust and ill-will. It makes you lose touch with your stakeholders, distorts your perspective and judgment, and diminishes your ability to understand, relate to and feel compassionate toward others.”

 

The complete text of Priory’s speech can be found at the Duke Energy Web site in the Executive Viewpoint column under the “About Us” section.

 

Duke Energy, a diversified multinational energy company, creates value for customers and shareholders through an integrated network of energy assets and expertise. Duke Energy manages a dynamic portfolio of natural gas and electric supply, delivery and trading businesses -- generating revenues of more than $59 billion in 2001. Duke Energy, headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., is a Fortune 100 company traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol DUK. More information about the company is available on the Internet at: www.duke-energy.com.

Contact: Randy Wheeless
Phone: 704/382-8379
24 Hour Phone: 704/382-8333
Email: crwheele@duke-energy.com