Allegheny Energy ( AYE) has hired a new leader to guide its challenging drive toward recovery. The Maryland-based utility announced Monday that it has selected Paul Evanson, president of the Florida Power and Light unit of FPL Group ( FPL), to serve as its next chairman, president and CEO. For now, Allegheny has no plans to follow other companies in separating the chairman and CEO roles -- a fact that may chafe corporate governance watchers who have been critical of the practices at both companies. Evanson takes over for Alan Noia, a 34-year Allegheny veteran who stepped down three months ago after leading the company through a harrowing dive that pushed it dangerously close to bankruptcy. Noia retired from the big utility just days after pounding out a difficult, $2.4 billion financing deal last February. Jay Pifer, who stepped in as interim president and CEO, will assist Evanson through a transition period when he arrives to take over the reins next week. "Paul brings a keen understanding of our industry and a proven track record in addressing critical issues that are facing energy companies today," said James Hoecker, an Allegheny director and former chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. "Paul's experience, combined with his operational and financial skills and strategic vision, should enable Allegheny Energy to overcome its challenges, restore shareholder value and continue to supply reliable energy services to consumers in our five jurisdictions." Evanson has scored high marks for his leadership of Florida Power and Light, a strong performer that pushed FPL Group to an 11% gain during last year's utility meltdown. But Evanson's role as a director at FPL, blasted by shareholders for poor corporate governance, could prove troubling to some. In April, Corporate Library -- a big firm that evaluates corporate governance -- told the Palm Beach Post that FPL's board "has been a bad board forever." Evanson has sat on FPL's board since 1995. During that time, FPL paid former CEO James Broadhead a total of $60 million for his last three years at the helm -- when the company's stock actually underperformed the general utility index.