He continued to do transactions work. In 1994, Panhandle bought Denver-based Associated Natural Gas Corp. and changed the name of the combined company to PanEnergy Corp. Head was heavily involved in the acquisition of Associated Natural Gas. When Pan Energy offered the veteran deal lawyer the chance to get involved with the front-end of the acquisition process, he said yes.
"My position was director of corporate development, and so my area of responsibility was to look at possible transactions to grow the various business units that PanEnergy had and then work with our business unit to identify and try to acquire additional companies," he says. "What I liked about that, instead of being brought into something after the fact or after it had gotten at least some sort of traction, we were on the front end trying to put that [deals] together," he says.
"When it came time to negotiate and put together documents, then lawyers came in at that point," he says. "It gave me an opportunity to utilize the business background that I had in the various areas of my business degree, such as accounting and finance and those kinds of things."
In his corporate-development role, Head was part of the team that negotiated the acquisition of PanEnergy in 1997 for about $8 billion by Duke Power Corp. of Charlotte, N. C. to create Duke Energy Corp.
Head worked in various business development positions for Duke Energy until 2001, when he moved back to the legal side of the business as senior vice president and general counsel for Duke Energy North America. (DENA). He made that move because he thought DENA was poised for greater growth than the international business unit.
"At that point, I came back into a more traditional legal role," he says. "I really was responsible for all of the legal issues that DENA had to deal with in the business across the board. At that time the company had [$1 billion] in earnings before interest and tax. It was a significant business unit." *
But at the end of 2001, Enron Corp. went bankrupt and shook the energy markets, creating liquidity and credit problems for DENA and as well as other companies, Head says. By 2003, Duke Energy decided to sell off DENA, Head says.
"As GC, I was involved in trying to create an exit strategy and then work our way from a large organization with many people to not only selling our assets in our business but also having to deal with downsizing our organization," he explains.
DENA had about 1,000 employees at the time and about 18 in-house lawyers. Head stayed on until the end of 2006, when the Duke Energy divestiture of DENA was complete.
As he had been winding down DENA, Head says legal recruiters contacted him, and he learned about an opportunity at Harvest, where then-GC Kerry Brittain was retiring.